How to Reduce Stress During the Holidays

When you think about the holidays, what comes to mind? Spending time with family and friends? Shopping for presents for loved ones? Baking cookies and decorating your home? 

While these things all sound like lots of fun, the holiday season can also be quite stressful for some. Travel can be hectic and crazy. Relatives may get on your nerves a little. Your finances can be stressed. 

This year try to reduce your stress so you can enjoy the holidays in a calm and worry-free manner. Use these strategies to help you cope.

  • Establish a Budget: One of the biggest stressors people face during the holidays is money. Of course, you want to buy your friends and family fantastic gifts, but is it worth it if it’s going to be a financial drain for you? 
    • Know what money you have to work with and then establish a budget. Sticking to your plan is essential, so be sure not to spend beyond your means or your financial worries will follow you into the new year.
  • Keep Up with Your Exercise: You may be busy this time of year, but you want to try and keep your routine as “normal” as possible. That means you want to keep up with your exercise. Exercise has been shown to reduce stress, so continue to hit the gym or take a walk. 
  • Eat a Regular Diet: With parties and treats, you may be tempted to skip meals in order to indulge later in the day. But you may find that because you’re so hungry, you eat way more than you intended. Continue your healthy eating and regular meals, and allow for a few treats during the holidays. This will keep you from becoming extremely hungry and overindulging.
  • Simplify Things: Do you really need to bake six different kinds of cookies? Or attend three holiday parties on Friday night? If you can simplify things this year, you may reduce some seasonal stress. One or two different cookies are plenty and maybe choose just one party to attend.
  • Take Time for You: As much fun as it is to spend time with family and friends, take some time for yourself during this busy time. Schedule some “me time” where you can rest, relax, and recharge. Do something you like – even if it’s just taking a ½ hour to read a book or grab a quick catnap.
  • Ask for Help and Delegate When You Can: Everyone can use some help at one time or another, and you don’t have to do it all during the holidays. Ask for help when you need it and delegate tasks when you’re able. It may be as simple as asking someone to help with carpool duty for kids’ activities so you can wrap presents or letting family know that you’d love for them to bring a dish for the holiday dinner.
  • Volunteer: It may seem counterintuitive to add another activity to a busy schedule during the holidays, but taking the time to volunteer really can reduce your stress. It will give you a chance to reflect on all the things you’re grateful for and do some good for others.
  • Keep a Positive Attitude: You’ve probably heard that “Attitude is everything,” and keeping a positive attitude will go a long way to helping you reduce your stress. When the stores are busy, or you burn your cookies, or a family member decides to talk politics, stay positive. Put a smile on your face and carry on.
  • Get Some Rest: Don’t burn the midnight oil trying to get everything done for the holidays. Rest is also important for keeping stress at bay. You’ll want to make sure you’re getting some good sleep and not surviving on caffeine.

Don’t let holiday stress dominate your life this year. Use these tips to reduce your stress and make this holiday season a special time to make memories with family and friends. 

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