Holiday Stress Management Tips

Young professional white woman sits on a couch, wearing a sweater, looking at a laptop. A Christmas tree is in the living room background.

The holiday season can easily be the most stressful time of the year. Between social and family commitments, decorating, planning time off from work, and coordinating schedules, it’s probably more work and effort crammed into two months than you did all year! But intentional planning and taking time for yourself can help make the holidays more enjoyable! Here are 6 tips to keep your mind and body in check.

Plan Ahead

December Calendar with blank space. Christmas holiday mood concept. Cocoa mug with marshmallow and Christmas decoration on the red plaid background.

You don’t want to go into the season without a plan in place. If you are hosting a holiday party or dinner, it’s best to plan everything as early as possible. One of the worst ways to stress yourself out is by waiting until the last minute. An easy way to plan is to simply write down your obligations, starting with the earliest. Set aside days for shopping once you’ve established a menu and gift-giving list. 

Start with November. What commitments do you have? For each one, what will you need to do? If you are cooking (or ordering catering), plan out the menu once you have a final headcount. Do the same for December.


Fir tree branch laying on a wooden table. View from top. White mug full of coffee, a blank notebook, and a sharpened pencil.

Alongside planning comes budgeting. Budgeting is very important, as lack of funds during the holidays (or going into debt) is a major stressor. If you are buying gifts this year, or planning holiday parties or dinners, be sure to establish a reasonable budget. What are you comfortable spending? Break out each commitment on paper, or use a budget app to plan and track your spending. 

Don’t Take On Too Much

Young Black woman sits on couch near laptop taking a deep breath, eyes closed.

It’s easy to say “yes” to many things. It’s much harder to follow through on each commitment. From your planning, know your available bandwidth. Do you have time to host both Thanksgiving in November and a December holiday dinner? Learn that it is OK to say “no,” and listen to your gut.


Look at the Big Picture

Young professional white woman in red pea coat sits outside on sunny day with a laptop and coffee mug.

You planned a party for 20, but only 10 are coming. Traffic was snarled and the person in line ahead of you at the grocery store had 10 coupons to redeem. It’s all OK. Take a deep breath. In the end, remember these are things out of your control. Worrying and stressing over these instances will not make them better, or prevent them from happening again. Just take a deep breath. Remember, it will all be OK! Don’t let relatively minor stressors roll over and affect other parts of your life!

Take Care of Yourself

Young Black woman crosses hands and hugs own body, tilts head and closes eyes, wears comfortable brown sweater.

It’s tempting to push your daily workouts to the side when life gets busier around the holidays, and even more tempting to dip into the holiday sweets that seem to be everywhere! It’s much easier said than done, but refrain from falling off the wagon. In fact, try to pick up some new healthy habits during this time! Practicing mindfulness and meditation can help calm your nerves and clear your mind. Make use of essential oils like lavender and a special calming blend. Try dabbing a bit on your pulse points, or placing a few drops on your pillowcase at night!

Be Present

winter holidays and people concept - happy friends with sparklers celebrating Christmas at home

Remember, the holidays only come once a year, and each year is an opportunity to build new memories and enjoy the special people in your life. Don’t let stresses and future worries take away from these moments. Wherever you are, whatever you are doing and whomever you are with, be present. Don’t let your mind wander and drift and tune out conversations with others. Not only will this help you enjoy the time you have, it prevents you from building unnecessary stress.

These are just a few of our holiday stress management tips. We would love to hear some of yours in the comments!

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