Overcoming Holiday Stress and Winning the Battle


Stress and the holidays…they just seem to go hand and hand these days. Between:

* Family gatherings
* Coping with the loss of a loved one or ones
* Busy stores
* Long lines
* Projects
* Gift buying
* Conflicts
* And more

It’s no wonder we’re all feeling the grip of stress. Sometimes, we put the stress on ourselves. You may have high expectations that add to the stress of your holiday season. Long gone are the days in which the season was highly anticipated and there was a sense of magic in the air. As an adult, you may find the season to be more stressful than joyous.

Unfortunately, these days, you may even consider holiday stress as a necessary holiday tradition!

Following are just some of the ways I talk about battling stress in my new ebook, Create An Old Fashioned Christmas

1. Are you overcommitted? The holidays normally come with many social gatherings that most of us feel we must attend. The fact is that you don’t have to go to every event you’re invited to.

* Saying “no thank you” to some of the invitations will free up more time for yourself and your family.

It’s important to remember and enjoy the spirit of the holidays. If it takes saying “no” to preserve some of your sanity, go for it! Others will be more understanding than you give them credit for.

* Don’t become so burdened that you secretly wish for the season to pass quickly. Take time to be by yourself. Whether you take a yoga class or a bubble bath, allow yourself to do something enjoyable without worrying about the holiday stress.

2. Carrying on traditions. Growing up, we may have seen our mothers cook a full course Christmas dinner. Perhaps it was routine to host a lavish holiday party. Maybe your family baked hundreds of Christmas cookies to give to friends and relatives.

* Tradition is good but don’t allow yourself to become so wrapped up in tradition that it consumes you.

If you find that the routine you normally follow for the pure and simple sake of tradition is weighing on you and resulting in more stress than you can deal with, break away from it! You will be happier when you’re free from this stress.

* Rather than living up to the expectations of years past, start your own, easy-going traditions. Instead of throwing a lavish party, have fewer friends over for tea and cookies. Allow other family members to bring side dishes to the holiday meal rather than cooking it all yourself.

3. Finding the perfect gift. There’s so much pressure to purchase the perfect gift for each person that it takes all the fun out of shopping. Remember, people are generally appreciative for whatever gift they receive. They don’t expect you to go to every corner of the Earth to find them a spectacular gift.

* Save time and money by skipping the wrapping! Creativity is the main focus. You can even give gifts that can be used throughout the year. For example, you may give a coupon in a card for a free night of babysitting, one day of yard work, or other special things.

* Shopping online has made searching for gifts much easier. It might also be more cost effective to buy online because many stores offer special sales or free shipping near the holidays.

As you can see, there are several effective ways to battle and overcome stress during the holidays. The key is to determine what’s causing your stress so you can eliminate it. In the end, you’ll see that most of the stress you experience is a result of the expectations you pose on yourself.

If you enjoyed this article, maybe you’d like to come join me for Naturally Simple Healthy Holidays.  It’s absolutely free, and will take us from Thanksgiving week all the way through New Years.

It starts today, but it’s not too late to join. You can read more about it here:


  1. Cathy Sykora says:

    Great tips to lower stress during the holiday season! I can’t agree more with learning to say “no thank you”. It can be so easy to agree to attend every holiday gathering you get invited to and run yourself down. I have found that people are very understanding that one person can’t be everywhere!

  2. Sarah Lawrence says:

    Your post totally resonates with me! I can especially relate to your reframing of traditions. This is an area that I’ve worked hard on for years, both continuing family traditions and creating new ones for my children. How easy is it to get pulled along by the hustle and bustle? How easy to forget that we can simplify and still experience the joy and magic of the season!

  3. Shelley Ugyan says:

    GREAT tips here- Christmas can really be such a stressful time and the holidays can create so much anxiety. Getting rid of the “shoulds” at this time of year can really take the pressure off- and I love your suggestions around how to do that ! Thanks for this 🙂

  4. Emily says:

    Thank you for this. We put so much pressure on ourselves to have a perfect holiday that we forget what really matters and the most memorable holidays are not those that are perfect and over planned but the ones that create the memories.

  5. Michelle Sage says:

    Great tips! People do not slow down to enjoy the holidays and before you know it, it is gone. Excellent advice! Thank you!

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