How to make the holidays less stressful

Written by Marisa Conde on Dec 15, 22

If you are experiencing holidays stress now, be sure that you are not alone! At this time of the year stress is normal. Our mind and body need to find a way to cope with anticipated (or real) dizzying array of demands like gift hunting, cooking meals, baking, cleaning, entertaining, passive-aggressive family members, or family fights over Christmas dinner.

The holidays should be joyful and restorative, but they’re often very demanding. Stressful situations will happen but we can choose how we respond to those events! Keep on reading if you would like some inspirational ideas! 

We put together practical tips to help prevent holidays stress: 

1- Manage expectations and set a clear picture of the Christmas you want to have

The holidays don't have to be perfect or just like last year. As families (and the concept of family) evolve and grow, traditions and rituals often change as well. How do imagine your Christmas to be?

  • Who’s sitting around the table? What are you all eating?
  • What are you talking about—or not talking about?
  • Are you laughing with the kids as you make Santa-shaped pancakes?
  • Are you holding hands with your partner in front of the fire?
  • Are you dusting off the old vinyl Christmas album, and you’re jamming away?

Share your picture with your loved ones and ask them to do the same, so that you can reach a consensus and make sure everybody's needs are taken into consideration. 

2- Make connections your number one priority

Let's allow ourselves to come back to the essentials and make people our top priority. Christmas time is meant to be filled with joy, thankfulness, lingering conversations over the dinner table, and lots of laughter. Let's hangout with people who recharge us and built up memories together. 

3- Set aside differences and avoid conflict

Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don't live up to your expectations, be understanding if others get distressed, as possibly they are feeling the effects of holidays stress too.

You can’t change people but you can get to decide how you respond. Understand where your boundaries are, and calmly leave if you are feeling: 

  • uncomfortable
  • awkward
  • unsafe
  • embarrassed
  • trapped

4- Stick to a budget

A budget is creating boundaries for your bank account and helps reduce stress because it gives you a plan for your money. Budgeting for Christmas will help you avoid the impulse purchases or spending too much.

Before you do your gift and food shopping, decide how much money you can afford to spend. Then stick to your budget. Don't try to buy happiness with an avalanche of gifts.

5- Plan ahead

Set aside specific days for:

  • shopping
  • baking
  • meal preps
  • connecting with friends
  • cleaning

To prevent last-minute scrambling to buy forgotten ingredients:

  • Shop online whenever you can
  • Plan your menus
  • Make your shopping list

6- Set boundaries

You are always free to shedding the tasks and preparations which are not reasonable, because they are:

  • too time consuming
  • out of your budget
  • making you feel uncomfortable

It is important to set boundaries and decide where your limits are for:

  • traveling
  • hosting guests

7- Learn to say no

For as much as you love your festivities, you can’t be everywhere at the same time. Be really honest with yourself regarding what you can handle, and speak up if it’s too much.

Instead of going to five Christmas parties, pick one or two. It’s all about quality time, not quantity. Those who love you will understand if you can't participate in every project or activity.

8- Remember to breath and to maintain healthy habits

Make some time for yourself. 15 minutes alone going for a walk, listening to you favourite music or reading a book helps to reduce stress by:

  • clearing your mind
  • slowing your breathing
  • restoring inner calm

Maintaining healthy habits during this period also helps:

  • Have a healthy snack before holiday meals so that you don't go crazy on sweets, unheathy snacks or drinks
  • Eat healthy meals
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Include regular physical activity in your daily routine
  • Try deep-breathing exercises, meditation or yoga
  • Avoid excessive tobacco, alcohol and drug use

9- Limit your time on social media

There’s an overwhelming amount of information going through our social media feeds. When you are stressed, stay out of it! Those perfectly curated Instagram and TikTok stories are unrealistic fantasies anyway. 

This Christmas, spend more time:

  • looking into your loved ones’ eyes than staring at your screens
  • holding more hands and less video game controllers
  • choosing human connection, joy and laughter over thumbs-ups and retweets

We hope this tips are useful to you and wish you peaceful and joyful holidays! 

With love,  from our little team!