Last Updated on August 20, 2023 by Lori Geurin
Looking for ways to reduce holiday stress? You’ve come to the right place! As the holidays approach, many people notice feeling more stress and anxiety. There’s so much to do and so little time. The stores are crowded and people can be impatient because they’re feeling the added stress too. In fact, according to Connie Bennett MSJ, CHHC, CPC:
“The American Psychological Association (APA) found that nearly half of all women in the United States experience heightened stress during the holidays, which puts their health at risk. The APA also learned that during this time, 41 percent of women use food, and 28 percent use alcohol.”
Things can get hectic at our house this time of year as well, full of special gatherings with family and friends, food preparation, holiday parties, Christmas concerts, sports practices, shopping for gifts, and wrapping presents.
But the holidays don’t have to be wrought with anxiety and stress. There is a better way! You can reduce holiday stress and tension naturally and enjoy all the fun-filled moments this season has to offer with the following tips:
- How To Reduce Holiday Stress Naturally
- 1. Identify your feelings.
- 2. Relax your expectations.
- 3. Plan activities in advance.
- 4. Focus on gratitude.
- 5. Practice saying NO.
- 6. Simplify your life.
- 7. Set a budget and stick to it.
- 8. Make sleep a priority.
- 9. Make time to work out.
- 10. Eat healthy foods.
- 11. Keep the peace.
- 12. Drink plenty of water
- 13. Practice deep breathing techniques.
- 14. Embrace Hygge
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How To Reduce Holiday Stress Naturally
1. Identify your feelings.
The holidays can be a particularly challenging time if you’ve recently lost a loved one or family relationships are strained. Take time to process how you are feeling – the good, the bad, and the ugly. Everything.
A great way to do this is by writing things down in a journal. This allows you to become aware of triggers and work through strong feelings. Many people are afraid that if they face their feelings they will lose control, but typically the reverse is true. When you understand what you’re feeling and why the fear loses it’s grip on you, lessening your stress.
2. Relax your expectations.
Don’t expect perfection from yourself or others. Be practical and give grace to yourself and those you love. Relaxing your expectations of others leaves you delightfully surprised when good things come your way.
The best gift you can give is kindness.
3. Plan activities in advance.
Knowing when you’re going to shop, cook, wrap presents, and carol (or whatever activities you’ll be doing) will help reduce stress because you won’t be rushing to get everything done at the last minute.
Consider meeting with your family over the weekend for 5 or 10 minutes to talk about the following week. Our family does this and it helps us know what’s coming up.
Also, in the evenings you can write a short list of things you want to accomplish for the following day.
4. Focus on gratitude.
Taking time to be thankful for the good in our lives takes the focus off the negative. If you haven’t started on yet, consider keeping a gratitude journal. Expressing your gratitude to the people in your life (aloud) earns you bonus points.
Want to start a daily gratitude practice? Check out our Gratitude Wellness Journal by clicking below.
5. Practice saying NO.
Many people overcommit and pay for it later when their responsibilities become overwhelming causing burnout and stress. You can give your time and energy to serve others in a heartfelt way when you choose to participate only in the activities that are most meaningful to you.
Spreading yourself too thin isn’t good for anyone involved. Setting boundaries is a good thing and essential for your health and your relationships.
6. Simplify your life.
Sometimes we make things more complicated than they should be. For instance, if you’re hosting Christmas dinner for your extended family consider preparing the meat or main dish and asking the other families to bring a side dish or dessert.
Also, consider doing a gift exchange instead of buying for everyone in your family or friend group.
7. Set a budget and stick to it.
Plan ahead for how much you want to spend on gifts. Write down your plan then carry it out. Remember, money (and presents) don’t buy happiness. Consider making homemade gifts or donating to a charity in your loved one’s name.
8. Make sleep a priority.
Turn in early to catch some zzzs. Getting a good night’s sleep makes all the difference. Making your sleep a priority around the holidays is a must! Here are 16 Quick Tips To Help You Sleep Better Tonight.
9. Make time to work out.
Prioritizing exercise has so many benefits. You’ll thank yourself later. Plus, exercise is a great way to avoid holiday weight gain. And if you have less time to work out that’s okay. Use those 10 minutes for a power walk, a few yoga poses, or a kettlebell workout.
10. Eat healthy foods.
Focus on eating whole foods and eliminating processed junk food as much as possible. Then when you attend a special event or dinner you can enjoy some tasty treats without feeling guilty.
Consider intermittent fasting for the health benefits and to rejuvenate your body and mind.
11. Keep the peace.
Even if you have a score to settle with Cousin Johnny…or a bone to pick with Auntie May. Let it go. And if you notice others are moody this time of year, remember that they’re likely feeling the impact of stress in their lives too. Do your best to overlook these things and help others when you can to lessen their load.
12. Drink plenty of water
13. Practice deep breathing techniques.
Doing yoga or taking a few deep cleansing breaths is invigorating and can help you de-stress. Take a deep, slow breath in through your nose. Then slowly exhale out your mouth. Do this 4 or 5 times and feel the difference!
Deep Breathing TikTok Video
Here’s a super short video I made to demonstrate how to do an easy box breathing exercise. You can do it anywhere to increase calm and lower stress. Follow me on TikTok for more wellness content.
Check out the Calm app. I have it on my phone, and it’s a great tool to help you relax and sleep better!
14. Embrace Hygge
Hygge is a Danish word for a cozy, comfortable mood that goes hand-in-hand with feelings of comfort, contentment, and well-being. It’s the simple pleasures in life, like a crackling warm fireplace, candles, cozy sweaters, a cup of hot cocoa, or snuggling under your favorite blanket and reading a good book that can bring so much joy. And eliminate stress naturally.
My favorite Hygge book that will show you everything you need to know about the cozy lifestyle is The Little Book Of Hygge: Danish Secrets To Happy Living.
Related: How To Hygge, Mr. Rogers & Favorites
How do you reduce holiday stress naturally?
Share your comments below in the comment section. I love hearing your thoughts!
If you enjoyed this, be sure to check out:
- 10 Ways To Relieve Stress And Anxiety
- My Favorite Ways To Relax In No Time Flat
- 20 Easy Ways To Express Gratitude
- 25 Best Thanksgiving Quotes To Inspire Gratitude
- Make The Journey Beautiful: Love And Gratitude
- How Gratitude Improves Your Life
- How To Reduce Holiday Stress Naturally
- 10 Proven Benefits Of Gratitude