Mental Health

Handle Holiday Stress in 9 best ways

Holiday season can either be the best time of the year or your worst nightmare depending how you handle that stress.

Even though you don’t want to miss on the fun and memories, there are these little things like gifts, decorations, going overboard with the budget and even how you appear to your friends and family that adds to stress level during holidays.

The thing about holiday season is it’s built up so much for months at end with everyone talking and making their holiday plans that this increases our expectations and contributes to the stress even before the holiday season begins.

Then when the festivities ends, it leaves us in a terrible holiday hangover which pretty much remains until mid-January.

So without further ado, here are some practical tips you can use to make your holidays less stressful and truly enjoy the festive season?

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Tips to Counter Holiday Stress

Here are some really easy ways you can simplify your chores this holiday season and make time for to actually enjoy thi quality time that most of us crave for throughout the year.

A feasible tip I have learnt over the years is to not complicate things and follow the KISS principle of keeping it simple.

Make your Holiday Budget

The first thing you can do is create a budget and make a plan for the at least 3-4 months before the holiday season.

This will considerably make your holiday season less stressful.

Take some factors into consideration like realistically how you much you can spend on gifts, clothes, food, travel, decorations etc.

There is this cool tip I learnt from my parents, if it’s possible you can try this too it will really help ease your monetary burden during holiday season.

Now my parents maintain a separate bank account for holidays where every month a small amount is deducted from the salary and deposited in that holiday account in this way all expenditure during holidays are done from that account while the salary account remains intact.

Even if you can’t maintain a separate bank account there is always the humble piggy bank, where you can save up some monies for Christmas, New Year and other festivities.

A penny saved is a penny earned and you’ll thank yourself for saving even a little insignificant amount.

So to reduce that holiday stress, make a plan and create a budget at the earliest.

Curb Competitive Spirit

Sometimes the holiday season unintentionally brings out our competitive spirit, where you want to host the best dinner party, which is so much better than what your friends planned.

Or maybe you want that really expensive dress to impress and flaunt to your family; and let’s not forget that fancy decoration that’ll make your house stand-out in the entire neighborhood.

So before getting all worked up ask yourself is this comparison really necessary?

To make your holiday season less stressful bring out your Christmas spirit and not your competitive spirit.

Ditch Perfection

There are tons of pretty pictures in Pinterest and Instagram that may inspire you to plan your own picture perfect get-together during Christmas and New Year’s.

In striving for the perfection you will only exhaust yourself and get frustrated. Make your holiday season less stressful by focusing on memories your near ones will fondly recall.

Instead of planning an elaborate dinner that may keep you occupied in the kitchen for the entire evening or getting the Instagram worthy pictures, focus on enjoying the moment with your loved ones which is full of love, laughter and merriment.

Your guests are there to spend some quality time with you; they probably won’t remember your 5-course meal or how beautifully you decked up the Christmas tree or other elaborate arrangements.

Keep your things simple so you have time to actually enjoy and yes! get some pretty, goofy pictures too.

Take note of these points

  1. Keep your dishes simple.
  2. Keep your decorations simple.
  3. Don’t obsesses over perfect picture worthy moments.
  4. Don’t fill your get-together with too many activities, instead allow things to unfold naturally and freely.

The Gift Nightmare

Handle Holiday Stress in 9 best ways

Gifts are important and probably the most stressful part of the holiday season.

You want your gifts to be nice and thoughtful but that doesn’t mean you go overboard with your spending or keep buying gifts till the last minute, unless you really love overcrowded malls and waiting in the queue.

Utilize off-season months like August and July to plan your gifts and if possible buy them.

If you have a tight budget you can always go for some nice DIY gift items. Handmade gifts are always so better that store-bought ones.

People genuinely love the idea of handmade cards, photo albums, decorative items, knitted stuff etc.

But if you don’t feel crafty enough you can always turn to Google and Amazon for some inspiration regarding gift items.

  1. Note: In case you are travelling during the holiday season make sure you have sent you gifts well ahead of time to avoid the last-minute rush and postal delays.
  2. Pro-Tip: Also, a side note book your tickets in advance and preferably during weekdays and not weekends.
Handle Holiday Stress in 9 best ways

Attending Holiday Events

Holiday season may stress you out with too many familial commitments. You may have your platter full of get-togethers including lunches, brunches, dinner and evening cocktails.

It may get really overwhelming so it’s okay if you may want to skip some events.

If you are burnt-out attending too many gatherings, learn to say NO, after all there is no point in spreading yourself too thin.

A good practice would be to decide which events are worth attending and then declining the rest and instead focus on having good family time.

It’s totally okay if want a simple home-cooked meal and curl up with your family in a warm blanket and watch a nice Christmas movie or hear a nice story.

The best memories of holiday season aren’t the number of gifts you receive or the amount of food you had or the amazing decorations.

The best memories consist of the little moments you spend with your loved ones within the cozy confines of your home.

Difficult Relatives

We all have that one member in our family who is a little (ahem!) difficult to handle. They have excellent traits of not respecting boundaries, of being a motor-mouth and similar enviable qualities.

Even if you avoid them all through the year you may finally have to meet them during the holiday season and that can be super stressful. Either they invite you or you invite them or probably bump into them in one of the endless family gatherings.

If meeting such people is unavoidable make sure you handle them deftly by being polite but firm and making limited conversations.

Food Stress

A lot of people may not agree with this, but for once this holiday season don’t stress about the food you are having.

It’s the holidays and you are meant to have good, scrumptious food. Just enjoy what you eat without obsessing over calories.

Don’t fret too much about over-eating and don’t feel guilty about enjoying delicious food, nor guilt-trip others.

You have an entire new year to focus on your diet and lifestyle and which you should but don’t make holiday season stressful by being fixated over how much weight you are gaining.

Holiday Clutter

The stress of cleaning up after holidays can be frustrating, whether it’s cleaning kitchen or taking down decorations or deciding how to deal with the countless number of similar gifts you receive. 

To avoid too much clutter, start a declutter session right before the holiday season and give away your old clothes or gift items to charities.

If there is too much food left after the festivities donate to those who are less fortunate.

If you receive gifts which are practically not very useful then consider giving those away to people who might actually need them. Here’s is a great guide on clutter-free gifts.

You can even have a no-gift policy and request friends and family to not bring any gift items.

Similarly with decorations don’t go over the top with fairy lights and other decorative items since taking those down later can be a pain. Create a comfortable and soothing space using rugs and cozy blankets, cushions, music and candles. Aim for simplicity and quality family time.

Mental health first

With all scurrying around during holiday season it’s easy to ignore your mental well-being.

Whether it’s some sort of exercise or meditation any physical activity during winter months will lift your mood and will keep you motivated to tackle the holiday stress.

If it’s too cold try to get some exercise on every alternate day for 20-30 minutes.

Seasonal affective disorder is a common condition during winter, make sure your house gets some natural light and air, even if it’s for a few minutes.  

Try to go outdoors whenever the sun comes up and soak in some sunshine.

Handle Holiday Stress in 9 best ways

Express Gratitude

Use this holiday season to reflect on the year that’s ending. Express your gratitude for whatever lessons you have learnt and things you achieved.

Express your appreciation for all good things in life – your family, friends, work, home, food etc. Being grateful will bring in some contentment and peace to your life.

When you are physically drained out with all the chaos during holiday season a little gratitude will make you less stressful.

Parting Thoughts

In a nutshell the holiday season is a chance to be surrounded by close ones. It doesn’t matter if it’s isn’t as perfect as the pretty Pinterest pins or the food isn’t top-notch.

The warmth of your home, heart-filled conversations, some slip-ups and goof-ups are the things that make this season so special.

Hoped you liked this post what is your favourite part of holidays? Do you get stressed out? Would love to know some of your stories do share them in the comment section.

Always happy to know your thoughts!

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  • Matthew Lovett

    Stress management is so important, especially during the holidays when things get crazy. It’s sort of popular opinion that we’re supposed to wear ourselves to the bone for our family and friends no matter the cost during the holidays. These are the moments when self-care is more important than whether or not the casserole comes out just right! Great article.

  • BeccaLois Blogs

    Budgeting and planning my money definitely helps me beat the stress! I plan how much I’m going to spend on each person and start putting money away a couple of months before if I can! I feel like letting yourself get stressed defeats Christmas, it’s a time to relax and enjoy yourself! Becca x

  • CrazyFitnessGuy

    I know this feeling all too well. I try to set my own budget and my family always like but we spend more money on you why can’t you spend more money on us? I tell them because I don’t work full time and i am in college and yet some how every year I have to spend over my amount.

  • Alice

    You are totally right. I bought my presents a month ago in order to avoid the holiday rush, and I kept a strict budget of 150 dollars or less for all gifts combined. Well written post xx

  • Carolyn

    This is a great post! I’ll definitely keep these in mind moving forward (especially a pre-holiday de-cluttering, what a great idea!). Though there’s not much I can do about my difficult relatives. Thanks!

  • Rebecca @ Boss Single Mama

    Great tips for reducing holiday stress! I love this time of year but it always gets so hectic that I don’t enjoy it as much as I should. These tips are a reminder to focus on what’s important and avoid the holiday season overwhelm.

  • Sarah

    These are really good tips for keeping that holiday stress to a minimum. I used to get so stressed around the holidays, but now I find them more manageable, likely because I live far away from a lot of the stress inducers – my family. Shopping ahead is something I have done for years now, partially to avoid the crazy crowds but mostly because I live far away from most shopping, so I need to get it in before the snow sets in and I’m cut off from traveling to do the shopping.

  • Nilakshi

    Great post! You have provided some thoughtful tips to work and reduce stress. Holidays are great yet hectic, these tips will help many! Thanks for sharing.

  • Karalee Shotola

    I agree the holidays can be stressful, but there are great tips on how to minimize the stress!
    I definitely agree with purchasing gifts in off-season months. I already finished shopping for everyone on my list & it’s great not having to worry about it during December.
    Also I only go to 2 family events (one on Christmas Eve and the other on Christmas day), which is manageable!