5 Simple Tips to Reduce Holiday Stress

5 Ways to Reduce Holiday Stress

*This post has been edited; it was originally published on November 19, 2018.

Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year.

But it can also be the most stressful!

Things like cooking, cleaning, shopping, hosting, traveling, and trying to stay healthy all contribute to the stress we experience during these winter months.

And the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic only adds to that stress, especially during the holidays.

Fortunately, there are some things you can do to make sure you can enjoy this holiday season without getting overwhelmed.

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Here are 5 simple tips to reduce your holiday stress:

1. Stick to Your Budget

One of the first things that comes to mind when I think of holiday stress is finances.

In a recent Gallup poll, Americans revealed that they planned to spend an average of $830 on gifts. But last year U.S. shoppers spent more than they bargained for, racking up an average of $1,054 in debt during the holiday season – that could take months or even years to pay off. 

And this year, online shopping is at an all-time high. (On Cyber Monday, shoppers spent a whopping $12 million a minute during the 8pm to 9pm ecommerce peak!)

So, to reduce holiday stress this season, set a budget and stick to it.

Make a list of everyone you will be getting gifts for and decide how much you want to spend on each gift as well as how much you will spend on decorations and food.

Using a credit card makes it easy to overspend, so if you go shopping in person, consider bringing the exact amount with you in cash to ensure that you don’t go over your predetermined budget. 

Another thing to budget wisely is your time. There are usually a lot of events during the holiday season and sometimes you just can’t do it all.

Don’t over-commit yourself – be prepared to say no. You may have to politely decline some invitations to ensure that you can actually enjoy the holidays.  

2. Prepare and Let Go

Preparation goes a long way when it comes to reducing holiday stress.

If you’re hosting a holiday dinner, plan your meal and prepare what dishes you can in advance to avoid having to do everything the day-of. 

Don’t leave cleaning until Christmas or the day of the event. You always wind up having less time than you thought you would have. So, start a few days out and maybe tackle a room or two each day.

Also, fighting through massive crowds of people at the last minute frantically trying to find gifts for everyone on your list is no fun...and now thanks to the COVID, it's actually risky.

That’s why, now more than ever, I prefer to shop online. 

Just remember that everything doesn’t have to be perfect. So, prepare as best you can … and then let go. Let someone else handle the packaging and shipping. 🙂

If you're looking for a one-stop shop to get gifts for everyone on your list, check out my self care gift shop

For more information on Self Care by 3D Success personalized self care gift boxes, click here.  

3. Continue Your Self-Care

It’s important to keep up your healthy habits during the holiday season. Diet and exercise can have a huge impact on your mood and energy levels.

Because there’s so much going on, it can be easy to let your routines slip but maintaining your health will go a long way towards reducing holiday stress.

Make sure to continue your self-care routine (especially if you are an introvert/HSP/empath!). 

Also, drink plenty of water and eat lots of fruit and vegetables. Foods like spinach and avocados help in the production of serotonin and dopamine, which help to keep you calm and happy.

Eating just a handful of nuts each day will help you to maintain a balanced mood. Almonds contain B vitamins which helps to keep your energy levels stable – as opposed to candy, pastries or anything with refined sugar, which will only give you a quick surge of energy followed by a sugar crash.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t have Christmas goodies though, that would be torture - indulge! Just make sure you eat the healthy stuff too, so your body gets the nutrients it needs.

And don’t slack on your workouts … ain’t nobody got time for holiday weight gain!

Even if you don’t normally exercise then walking, yoga, meditation or progressive muscle relaxation can really help to soothe anxiety and reduce holiday stress.

Here are some more natural remedies for anxiety to incorporate into your self care Sunday routine during these winter months. 

4. Boost Your Immune System

Getting sick can be a huge source of holiday stress. A cold or the flu can sometimes linger for weeks, causing you to miss out on all the exciting festivities you had planned.

Fortunately, there are ways to reduce your risk of getting sick. Some of my favorites are eating healthy, juicing and self care.

I got into juicing a couple years ago and I haven’t gotten sick since. It has helped me so much with literally everything. Headaches, low energy, cramps, stress, everything.

You can find tons of juice recipes online, but you can also just experiment with making your own. I’ve come up with some delicious juices using what I had in the house (my favorite ingredients are carrots, spinach, kale, lemon, ginger, beet and green apple).

If you’re looking for a juicer, check out the Breville Juice Fountain Plus. It’s the one I use. It does an excellent job and it’s not crazy expensive like some of the other ones out there.

Another way to avoid getting sick (and to avoid holiday stress) is by taking care of yourself. If you don't get enough rest, your body cannot repair and recuperate and eventually you will burn out. 

So, make sure you are taking some time to relax in order to reduce holiday stress (and all kinds of stress, really!)

Consider making a DIY self-care box for anxiety that you can open whenever you're feeling overwhelmed.

Or, just order one pre-made so you have it ready to go whenever anxiety hits. 😉

5. Practice Gratitude

Finally, remember what the holidays are all about.

Regardless of what religion you practice, the holiday season is a time to be joyful, spread kindness and express gratitude for all the wonderful things you have.

Oftentimes, we get overwhelmed trying to get all the gifts and go to all the events and make everything “perfect”.

That’s not what is important.

Cultivating a sense of gratitude can help to keep things in perspective and lessen holiday stress.

Think of something that you are deeply grateful for in your life. It will likely remind you that whatever’s stressing you out is not that serious.

One way to practice gratitude is to keep a gratitude journal. Studies have shown that keeping a gratitude journal:

  • increases determination, attention, enthusiasm, energy and optimism 
  • decreases physical ailments, symptoms of illness, insomnia, anxiety and depression
  • Once or twice a week, write down five things (or people) you are grateful for. Think about how different your life would be without them and elaborate on why you are grateful for them.

    Continue to do this all the time, not just during the holiday season. Here are some gratitude journal prompts and activities for you to try.

    Regular practice of gratitude will increase your resilience to stress and help you to maintain a peaceful, optimistic attitude.

    So, there you have it - my five simple tips to reduce holiday stress! 

    Do you have any tips that I didn’t mention? Leave a comment!

      Happy Holidays!

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    About the Author

    Kalliope Archondis, JD, LLM. 👋Hi! I'm Kalli, personal development blogger and Etsy shop owner. Check out our Self Care by 3D Success relaxation spa gift sets here.