In Life Coach, Psychotherapy

The holidays can be stressful because of the extra tasks, money, and events that we need to try to fit into our already very full calendars and budgets.  We also see and interact with people that we might not choose to at other times. There might be difficult or challenging personalities or family dynamics. Or something like spending time and wanting to impress in-laws can increase our heart rates and self-pressure.

Here are some tips and tricks to help reduce your holiday stress this year

Laughter Really is the Best Medicine

Cut off all of your family. Spend all your money on yourself by buying a bunch or presents for yourself. Find a place to send your kids (possibly ship the husband off too). Sometimes we might secretly wish we could do these things. Wouldn’t the holidays be relaxing if we could? But they aren’t typically an option for most of us nor do we really want to do these things. This is your first tip: use humour to help ease some tension and lower holiday stress levels.

Start Early So You Can Manage Your Time

For anyone who participates in the giving presents, holiday stress will definitely be amplified if you leave everything to the last minute. For presents. you can even look for them throughout the year and watch for sales as well. It’s so nice to avoid the last-minute stress and pressure of trying to figure out the night before Christmas.

Write a List of Everything That You Need to do For the Holidays, So You Can Take Control

Some usual things on the list are to visit family, prepare for guests, send cards, buy presents, wrap presents, cook food, bake, etc. What do you do for the holidays? Do you want to plan out some fun activities to create some special holiday experiences and memories? Write a sub-list of who you need to buy presents for, what you want to buy and where to buy it. Once you have this list complete pop it into the calendar to stop by these places when you are near the stores already or plan a time when you would enjoy the shopping experience. Planning your time is essential to reducing holiday stress.

It’s OKAY to do Less

Don’t go overboard trying to please everyone else while making yourself miserable and increasing your holiday stress levels. Say no to things you do not want to do or that do not make you happy. The simplest thing to say is, “I’m sorry but I already have plans that night.” You don’t have to do more than you can handle and it’s okay to say no. Don’t over schedule yourself this year. Put everything you are planning to do in an agenda, so you can actually see how much time you have and how much you are trying to do.

We are not very good at visually seeing overbooked calendars in our heads. But a real visual calendar can really put our unrealistic expectations on ourselves into perspective. So many of my clients don’t realize the impossible number of things they expect themselves to fit into a day. This can help alleviate guilt when you see it is humanly impossible to do all the things on your list that day.

If you fear missing out just remind yourself that there is always next year. If you’re not sure what to say no to it can help to write out an obligations list. Write a list of all of the things you feel obligated to do or that you feel like you should do and just don’t do them! The world will not come to an end.

Think About How You Want Your Holidays to be This Year

Do you want them to be peaceful, refreshing and recharging, relaxed, full of love and connection? What’s important to you? Now what do you have to do to make sure this happens? Can you block off time for you and say no to anything that gets in the way? Should you do less? How can you make time for loved ones?

Stick With Your Usual Self-Care Routine

Don’t skip the gym or anything else you usually do to be at your best and to manage stress. If anything, we need more self-care not less at this time of year. Take a day off. Read our self-care list for more ideas.

Stop Trying to be Perfect and to Have the Perfect Holiday

Don’t obsess over details. Things will be forgotten, burnt, late, broken, messy and that’s okay. Have fun and remember no one but you will notice or remember it. Focus on the parts of the holiday that truly bring you joy.

Turn Off Your Cell Phone and Emails

It causes rushes of adrenaline and cortisol, and sometimes leads to anxiety. Why not use the holidays as a time to take a break from technology.


And remember to have fun!

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