Managing Holiday Stress:

Do you want to know more about managing holiday stress? Well, if you so, you’ve come to the right place!

managing holiday stress

Firstly, let’s describe the holidays, shall we.

Ideas that come to mind may include; joy, filled with family time, amazing food, yummy desserts, games, booze, bright lights, hot coffee.

Its that time of year when let’s face it, everyone just seems happier, right?

Ironically, 88% of Americans according to one study, feel the holiday season is the most stressful time of the year!

So let’s be real, the holidays can also be one of the most stressful times of the year for many! The holiday shopping, crowds, loud noises, hanging Christmas lights in 20 degree weather.

Likewise, the elaborate dinners, trying to make sure everyone is happy and having fun, as well as conversations with the in-laws you haven’t seen in a year.

All of these things can make for a more challenging time. Fact is, everyone deals with stress in different ways. Some individuals just cope better.

Consequently, many have come up with their own ways of coping and dealing with this time of the year.

Did you know, the American Psychological Association (APA), actually has an online resource center for dealing with holiday stress.

In fact, they go into great depth about expenses, managing expectations of the holidays, even how to manage grief and sadness at this time of the year.

Top 9 ways For Managing Holiday Stress:

1. Exercise: 

Don’t neglect your endorphins. Sure, this is an elective activity that can take up even more time. Time many don’t have much of, especially during the holiday season.

However, the benefits of exercise at helping to keep a clearer mind, may just be worthy of your time.

exercise to help manage holiday stress

A brisk walk, a session of aerobic exercise, even a 30-minute fast paced weight bearing exercise. It doesn’t have to be long, but get that blood pumping, and those feel-good hormones flowing!

Besides, most of us understand the effects and benefits of exercising and on top of the physical gains, improving our mental well-being is essential at this time of the year!

2. A Big Squeeze: 

What are we talking about here?

Firstly, we’ve discussed in a prior post about investing in an inexpensive stress ball or even making one of your own. Although not a long term fix for stress, in times of acute stress, this may be a way to relieve some tension in the body.

Likewise, doing this motion with your hands is stimulating what’s known as the, Hoku spot. The Hoku spot is the fleshy spot between your thumb and index finger, (look here).  This is a spot often used and/or mentioned in the realm of acupressure and acupuncture, in Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Consequently, in times of acute stress, try this technique to relieve some pressure and tension. Hoku point, according to The Energy Healing Site, may also help to relieve headaches, muscle & joint pain, as well as stimulate a sense of calm.

3. Keep Yourself In Mind: 

think about yourself

It’s true, many of us go above and beyond to try and please others during this festive time. But, how about giving yourself a pat on the back and taking a breather for yourself.

How about reflecting on all the great things you’ve done over the past year. Take some time to yourself during the holidays and make this a point of emphasis.

4. Reflection: 

In addition to the aforementioned point on this list is, reflection. This point is truly dedicated to you and no one else. Establish some time for reflection.

reflect on your year

Not only the good, but also reflect on the hard times that you may have experienced. For example, speaking for myself, this year I changed specialties in the hospital and chose a less stressful department to work in after years in the ICU. It was a much needed move for personal reasons.

However, this past year my son needed extensive dental work. It crushed me to see him go through this (even though he was a rock-star!).

Tip: This doesn’t have to be done by yourself. Invite a friend over, have a glass of wine, and discuss your years in there entirety. (talk about a vent session, right!).

Similarly, discover some other great benefits of reflection here. Use this as a time to also count your many blessing and be thankful for what you do have.

5. Routines: 

Establishing some sort of routine during the holidays can make all the difference in the world. The holidays, in many instances can throw-off routines.

As a result, if you’ve been doing something for a long time, a specific way, this is going to cause you added stress if you change this routine.

routines to help mange holiday stress

NBC News has a thoughtful post in regards to establishing a routine to help combat holiday stress. One specific point the article raises is taking “ownership of your mornings”, by getting up 15 minutes ahead of your alarm.

Secondly, get a workout in. Not only do you get those happy hormones going, but you also set yourself up to then complete other tasks without “exercising” being one of them.

Thirdly, the article discusses eating a healthy breakfast. This can set you up for success if you’re calorie counting or trying to stick to a diet or lifestyle change, knowing that you may indulge slightly later in the day.

6. Laugh: 

You probably didn’t know all the wonderful benefits of laughter.

make sure to laugh during the holidays

Did you know laughter can:

  • Stimulate your organs due to the increase in oxygen rich air.
  • Lower blood pressure by releasing endorphins.
  • Reduce stress hormones by decreasing cortisol levels (stress hormone).
  • As well as strengthen relationships.

This, all according to the University of St. Augustine.

Part of the holidays is about enjoying the people around you, right? Whether you’re hosting the gathering, or traveling to another home, take time to enjoy the company.

7. Take a Ride: 

Besides the other great points on this list, this one may just take the cake. At least, personally!

Maybe you’ve tried this one during the school year when studying for an exam, or even after an argument you had with someone. Take a ride!

Furthermore, if you love music and this is something that soothes your soul, couple music with your ride. Oftentimes I don’t even care where I am going, a half hour one-way and then a half hour back, is just enough to take the edge off

As a result, this oftentimes helps me to feel rejuvenated, allows me a moment to myself to reflect. Or gives me time just to unwind and forget about stressors at the moment.

8. Be Creative:

Change-up a tradition!

Living on the edge with this one, right?

create a new tradition

By us saying be creative, the spin we throw in, is to try something new.

Ditch the old traditions and habits and try a new holiday custom. Now for some, maybe this adds unwanted stress. However, for you creative souls out there, try this. Have fun with this, include others in your “new way”. You just may start your own new tradition.

9. Buy Yourself Something! 

buy yourself something during the holidays

All the money and time you take buying gifts for others, marking things off your lists for your parent(s), brother(s), sister(s), niece(s), nephew(s), uncle(s), aunt(s) and grandparent(s), buy something for yourself.

This is definitely another favorite tactic for managing holiday stress. Buy something you’ve wanted for a long time, or purchase something that actually helps you relax.

Focus on you, for just a second. Wait until everyone’s gone and enjoy that last present under the tree for yourself!

Final Thoughts!

Thanks for reading, and from our family to yours, stay safe this holiday season, happy holidays, and best wishes from!