Holiday Stress Management

Knowing about holiday stress management and stress relief skills could make or break what should be the best time of your year!


You work hard all year and look forward to the holidays...

You plan, budget, make bookings, organise packing, dream of excitement and fun...

Or maybe your perfect holiday is quiet time at home with friends and family...

And then the stress kicks in! – tempers fray, you fall ill, last minute glitches threaten to upset the plans and you wonder where you went wrong...

Aren’t holidays all about stress relief anyway?

Well, some holidays have been quite the opposite for me ...


You are quite normal if you experience mood changes and anxiety during the holiday season...

Just the demands of the extra activities and planning demand energy and can be stressful.

The demands of the season are many: shopping, cooking, and travel; house guests, family reunions, parties, office parties, and extra financial burden.

And even the fun stuff like overdrinking, overeating, and partying can cause holiday stress.

You may not generally be depressed but find yourself actually struggling with holiday depression. Symptoms can include headaches, insomnia, uneasiness, anxiety, sadness, intestinal problems, and unnecessary conflict with family and friends...

So prepare yourself in advance and have a few coping strategies in place to help you have the kind of holiday that you planned...

Here are my basic tried and tested ways to beat holiday stress...

10 Holiday Stress Management Tips

  1. Be realistic about what you can and cannot do. Don’t try and be Superwoman/Man. Organize your time. Be reasonable with your schedule. Do not overbook yourself into a state of exhaustion--this makes you cranky, irritable, and depressed. Saying "no" is an art form during the holidays, your first priority should be taking care of yourself -- if you don't, nothing will get done. Remind yourself that the holidays are about enjoying yourself and your family.
  2. If you are lonely, try volunteering some of your time to help others. In every city there are a number of groups that help underprivileged or hospitalized children, the homeless, or the aged and disabled at the holidays. There are many, many opportunities for doing community service. No one can be depressed when they are doing community service. Even if you are not lonely, it is a great exercise to get you and your children involved in a service project. Really takes the focus off your stress.
  3. Limit your consumption of alcohol, since excessive drinking will only increase your feelings of depression. Do not let the holidays become a reason for over-indulging in food and drink. Contrary to popular opinion, alcohol is a depressant.
  4. Practice gratitude. We can all think of at least 5 things to be grateful for – and this is a very effective holiday stress management and stress relief tool.
    One of my favourite books,
    ”Simple Abundance”, gives a simple and doable plan for everyday gratitude. I particularly liked the "gratitude notebook" suggestion...
    Jotting down 5 things at the end of everyday that make you feel thankful. Misery and gratitude cannot occupy the same space in our psychological house, and we can choose our emotional state.
  5. Keep track of your holiday spending. This is a very important holiday stress management tip. Overspending can lead to depression when the bills arrive after the holidays are over. Extra bills with little budget to pay them can lead to further stress and depression. So stick to your financial budget. Avoid impulse buys. Find holiday activities that are free, such as looking at holiday decorations, going window shopping. One of our favourites is to look at people's Christmas lighting on their homes.
  6. Plan ahead. When I get this right, it makes a huge difference to coping with holiday stress. Do as much as you can in advance: buy Christmas gifts online, bake cookies or sauces and freeze them, write Christmas cards early. To reduce holiday stress, avoid doing everything at the last minute. Make a list or schedule and try and stick to it. Holiday stress management includes being well-prepared so that you can enjoy the occasion.
  7. Laugh! It is as simple as that... Laughter has many stress relief benefits and can defuse any tense situation. Watch a funny movie. Think of a joke that always makes you laugh. Phone a friend that always has a funny comment.
  8. Make time for yourself. Give yourself a break; create time for yourself to do the things YOU love to do. I find this holiday stress management tip essential. Get a massage. Go for a walk on your own. Listen to music that relaxes and/or energizes you. Make time to contact a long lost friend or relative. You are not being selfish, it is called self-preservation. Pampering yourself is a great way to reduce holiday stress.
  9. Try something new. Celebrate the holidays in a new way. Don't expect the holidays to be just as they were when you were a child – good or bad. They NEVER are. Nothing says that Thanksgiving, Christmas or any traditional holiday MUST be celebrated in a certain way. Let go of the past and have fun creating new holiday traditions.
  10. Don’t expect people to change. Personal relationships can take huge strain during the holidays. All you can do is to be responsible for how you behave. Remember, you have no control over how your relatives behave. The most important part of avoiding holiday stress with our families is for each of us to feel in control and satisfied with our own behaviours, attitudes & feelings. If possible, declare an amnesty with whichever family member or friend you have past resentments.



    If you keep only one thing in mind about holiday stress management and stress relief - Remember: The choice whether to feel blue or not, to get stuck in pressure, to be bogged down by other peoples’ problems, to behave unwisely, is always yours - choose to focus on the “half full glass” and be grateful for bounty, health, hope, and courage that you do have...

    Have a holiday stress management strategy
    And don’t take it all so seriously!



    More Useful Information
    For Coping With Holiday Stress

    Do you find yourself falling ill on holiday? Find out what makes you get sick and how to avoid it at More Holiday Stress Tips


Go from Coping With holiday Stress to DIY Stress Relief Home

Interesting Links
Pick of the Day!