How to deal with holiday stress

‘Tis the season to be jolly. But with that, gifts need to be shopped, food need to be prepared, cleaning must be taken care of, family must be gathered and the last few days of work before the break are just a little bit extra packed with things to do. So when did jolly start meaning stressed? The holidays, even though they are supposed to be a time of joy, can be incredibly stressful for a lot of people, and holiday stress is not something you should take lightly. When you get some free time, you’re supposed to be able to enjoy it, and anything that could ruin that experience, really ought to be taken care of.


For this purpose, we intend to present you with a few practical holiday stress tips, that could make your holiday just a little bit more enjoyable. And a reminder that you certainly need to treat yourself too, in times of snowfall and cold weather.



#1. Take control over the situation and prioritize

Things are always overwhelming when you get them stacked up and all at once. The first step of dealing with holiday stress, is to assert control, and make sure that you are on top of things, rather than beneath them. To do this, a good idea is to sit down for 5 minutes, collect yourself, and try to assemble a list of everything that needs to be done during the holidays. Start listing things that are related to the home, family and work life, and just write down everything that you can think of. As soon as this is done, look it over, and you will already feel a little bit better over the fact that you now know WHAT to do. The only thing that remains then, is the HOW.


To deal with the HOW, you should start prioritizing the different items on the list after difficulty and necessity. Try to start small, and get the easy things out of the way first, so you can put more energy and focus on the bigger posts when you reach them. This way, it will become more manageable, as your list decreases in size. You now have control, and this should not be underestimated. It does help a great deal to know that you are doing something active to handle the situation, and your stress will diminish in return.



#2. Make sure that everyone is chipping in

The holidays constitutes family time for a lot of people, but still it is easy to feel like you are on your own, and that you need to manage all of the things by yourself. If you’re going to celebrate together with your family, and the goal is to spend quality time with them, make sure that it is a joint effort that is going to make this happen. You shouldn’t have to juggle all of the holiday stress demands by yourself, so don’t be afraid to ask for help if you feel like you need it. Holiday stress can be brutal, and if your family is set on enjoying spending some quality time with you – then they will want to make sure that you are not stressed out during that time.


It might be a good idea to divide tasks, especially home related ones, to various members of the family or other close ones. Just telling them how you feel can be greatly beneficial as well, as just having someone understand your situation might be comforting, and allow them to have insight in to the things that are going on from your end, allowing them to help you out. This way, the family can be brought together not only for the holidays, but also in the process of getting there.


Give yourself the gift of less stress this holiday


#3. Put things into perspective, and treat yourself

Another good thing to do in relation to reducing holiday stress, is to put things into perspective. Take a minute, think about it. What is the point of it all? Why are you celebrating? What do YOU want to do with your time off? Is it not for your sake? For your benefit? Isn’t the entire point to have a good time? So why stress yourself out about it? Whatever you are comfortable with, is good enough. If the idea is to be able to relax and have a good time, then you set the rules. No obligations should bring you down, it is your holiday, and it is your time to do what you want with.


To really emphasize this feeling, you could help combat holiday stress by treating yourself regularly. It should be an enjoyable time of year, and you’ve earned some rewards. Something that will make it more fun, and put the idea of holiday stress far, far away. So make sure to take some time out to do something just for you, regardless of that means reading a book under candle light, having that extra gingerbread cookie, or buying yourself that little extra thing you always had an eye on as a personal gift. Just make sure that you are enjoying life, that is what it is here for.



#4. What is perfection for you? Balancing demands and holiday stress

A lot of the holiday stress is often connected to a sense of perfection. Demands are high, everything needs to be just right, and it feels like people are expecting a certain outcome. But hey,  you really need to be able to be happy with things just the way they are as well. You can do your best, but don’t overdo it. You have to learn how to balance demands for what is reasonable, and for how you would like things to be. Bending over backwards to try to achieve something that you find perfect, is not really worth the negative consequences that could cause. No celebration is worthy of being at the expense of your health, or well being.


To combat this, and try to reduce holiday stress, you could try to set reasonable goals. Cut yourself some slack, and don’t take on more things than you feel you can handle. After all, it is not the most important thing in the world, you shouldn’t worry too much about it. The holidays will be back as early as next year again, and it doesn’t have to be perfect every year. It is not the end of the world if it isn’t. After all, it’s all about your enjoyment. Try to remember that.


We hope these holiday stress tips can be of value to you, and that you remember to treat yourself well even in these stressful times. The holiday stress can get the better out of most people, but it shouldn’t have to. Try to think of this, and consider it a little early gift from you, to yourself. You’ve sure earned it.

If you want to read more about holiday stress specifically, has a good article with some more tips. You can also have a look at out Stress Management Blueprint online course, which is a free series of blog posts on learning how to handle stress.