Holiday Stress Management

Are you looking for holiday stress management tips? Then you have come to the right place! While the festive season is a joyous occasion for many people, it can also be accompanied by high levels of stress. You may feel overwhelmed by grief, anger, loneliness or anxiety during the holidays. Practicing self-care and developing networks of support are just some of the strategies that you can use to cope with the range of emotions that accompany your end-of-year celebrations. Here are our top eight holiday stress management tips that you can use this festive season.

  1. Practice self-care

In amongst the chaos of the holiday season, it’s easy to forget to take care of yourself. Whether you’re rushing to complete a project at work before your office closes or you’re spending time with family, don’t forget to take time out for yourself. If self-care isn’t already part of your daily routine, you can start by making a list of the things that you enjoy doing. When you’re compiling your list, include the activities that make you feel re-energized as well as the ones that leave you feeling relaxed. Reading a book, going for a walk, watching sport, talking to a supportive friend and spending time in nature are just some of the activities that can help you to cope with anxiety. Meditation and deep breathing exercises are other excellent stress busting techniques. If you know that you’re going to have a particularly difficult work meeting or family gathering, schedule time afterwards to give yourself a supportive time out.

2. Eat healthy

When it comes to holiday stress management, staying healthy is essential. For many people, festive occasions are characterized by overindulging in alcohol and foods that are packed full of sugar. While it’s great to let your hair down and have some fun during the end-of-year celebrations, make sure that you balance out your sugary treats with plenty of healthy meals. Lean protein, healthy fats as well as vegetables and fruits are essential to your physical and emotional well-being. Reducing stress is easier when you are feeling energetic and happy because you are giving your body the nutrients that it needs to thrive.

3. Exercise

Whether you go for a run or hit the tennis courts, exercise will leave you feeling fit and energetic. Not only is regular exercise important for your physical well-being, it also helps to improve your mood. While you may be tempted to skip your gym session during this busy period, regular exercise should be part of any holiday stress management strategy. Exercise helps to elevate your mood by triggering the production of endorphins. When you’re feeling stressed, angry or frustrated, it’s time to get your body moving with your preferred type of physical activity.

4. Give back

Volunteering at a local charity is a great way to give back this festive season. Not only will you be helping the people who need it the most, volunteering can help to decrease feelings of loneliness. When you connect to others, it’s easy to see the bigger picture and to realize that you are not alone when you are facing your own struggles.

5. Stay connected

While some people may feel overwhelmed by the large crowds at their family gatherings, the festive season can feel isolating for others. If you’re away from your family or have lost loved ones, it can leave you feeling disconnected during this period. Feelings of exclusion can be decreased by asking friends for support. Reaching out to a supportive loved one and sharing with them how you’re feeling can go a long way towards helping you to feel connected. When you talk about the challenges that you are facing, it often makes it easier to discover constructive solutions. Another option is to join a support group in your area or to sign up for group activities where you can meet other like-minded people. You can get involved in the festivities by going to see music concerts and heading out to see the sights that accompany the holiday period.

6. Avoid debt

The financial pressures of the festive period can send your stress levels skyrocketing. From buying gifts to the expense of entertaining guests, there are plenty of extra costs to consider. You can make holiday stress management easier by creating a budget and sticking to it. Once you know how much you have to spend, you can allocate money to gifts, entertaining and holiday activities. Having guidelines to follow will decrease the risk of you overspending. When you’re buying gifts, don’t feel pressured to buy expensive items. A thoughtful present is much more valuable than grabbing an expensive gift off the shelf. If you’re feeling crafty, you can even make your own gifts as a more affordable option. Spending quality time with the special people in your life is one of the best gifts that you can give them.

7. Dealing with grief

While the holiday season is associated with joy and celebration, this can be a difficult time of year if you have lost a loved one. As families gather to enjoy this special time together, it can make feelings of grief even more difficult to cope with. Self care practices and a network of support are important during this difficult time. If you don’t have supportive friends that you can talk to, consider joining a support group or talking to a mental health professional. You could also think about arranging a gathering to remember and honor the special person that you lost. Getting together with other people who knew your loved one, can help to make your grief less isolating.

8. Ditch perfectionism

High expectations are a recipe for disaster, especially over the festive period. Getting into the right mindset is an important part of holiday stress management. Ditch the idea of creating the perfect holiday and focus on spending time with the special people in your life. Practice gratitude for what you have rather than focusing on what you don’t have.


author avatar
Angel Rivera
I am a Bilingual (Spanish) Psychiatrist with a mixture of strong clinical skills including Emergency Psychiatry, Consultation Liaison, Forensic Psychiatry, Telepsychiatry and Geriatric Psychiatry training in treatment of the elderly. I have training in EMR records thus very comfortable in working with computers. I served the difficult to treat patients in challenging environments in outpatient and inpatient settings
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