How to Keep Holiday Stress to a Minimum

For many of us, the Christmas season used to be carefree – free of schoolwork, free of tedium, and full of joy. And then adulthood rolled around…

These days, most people are so busy, so over-committed, that what used to be a time of rest has very quickly become something entirely the opposite. Let’s be real: The holidays are sometimes more stressful than they are joyful. Everyone wants to keep holiday stress to a minimum, or cut it out completely!

We’re here to tell you that it's possible.

Below is a list of some common stressors that come up during the holidays. Use this list to keep an eye on the things that might side track you! Cut the stress and put it on the naughty list. 

Managing Expectations

Particularly for women, there is nothing quite so tall an order as the holiday season. Stop worrying about creating a Pinterest-perfect table setting, winning affection with gifts, or trying to put on a perfect face. Don’t put yourself last on the to-do list and cut yourself some slack. Life can be messy! Roll with it, ask for help, say “no” sometimes.

Entertaining Family

Jack wants this, Jill wants this, Dad wants a nap, Grandma’s meddling, and no one wants to talk about “that thing” but it seems to come up all the same. With the flood of family at the holiday’s comes history, positive or negative, and balancing that many personalities at once can be a burden! Relatives will want to get together and that is a good thing, but maybe this time around you’ll need to break some old habits or confront family issues to make the holidays a little happier. Just do it, you’ll feel better!

Keeping the Budget

We’re not gonna lie, the holidays are expensive. Gifts, parties, meals, you name it, it can be a little overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be that way! First, decide on a budget right away and stick to it. Be honest with yourself and make a good guestimate as to what you think you can comfortably spend without causing further stress. Second, take a look at your gift giving goals. Decide who’s on your radar and make a list! Budget for each item and you won’t go over. Third, shop sales! Bargain hunt, look in odd places, or give some free experiences. Then, come January, start saving bit by bit early – you’ll be amazed by what you can come up with for a holiday savings fund over the course of 11 months!

It’s Party Time

Nope, you don’t HAVE to go to every party. And you certainly don’t HAVE to cook for all of them. Take your pick! If that get together doesn’t strike your fancy, don’t ruin your evening and spend time with people you care about instead. There is nothing as wholesome and fulfilling as a little quiet quality time with loved ones during the holidays. And your kiddos’ recitals? Sorry, you can’t miss those. But just think how cute your little ones will look all dressed up in their holiday gear. There’s nothing better.

Happy Holidays!


Originally published for Better Health Washington at: