14 Tips for a Stress-Free Holiday Season

The holidays are a time to relax by the fire with close family and friends… Though the thought of chores, gift giving, and tempting treats may be elevating stress and overshadowing the enjoyment we once remember as a child. But whether forming a game plan or traveling smart, implementing these tips for can cultivate a happier, healthier, and stress-free holiday season!

14 Holiday Stress Tips

1. Lessen Your Chore List

From cleaning the house for out-of-state visitors to shoveling the sidewalk for safer door entry, sometimes the chose list can be overwhelming and seem endless. But rather than striving to check off all boxes singlehandedly, reduce your stress by lessening your chore list. Prioritize your list and truly question if it is necessary, as organizing your basement closet may be a project on your spring cleaning list. Additionally, delegate help from your spouse, kids, or anyone else who can offer a helping hand.

2. Reconsider Standards

Though you may want to get the house decorated and cleaned perfectly, it is important to remember the stress of getting there may not be worth it. Though a clean home is certainly welcoming to your guests, question whether or not the carpet truly needs shampooed, the showers deep cleaned, and the hardwood floors waxed.

3. Dismiss Monetary Value

The pressure of finding a pricey gift can be extremely stressful. But the price tag does not hold the greatest value when it comes to gift giving, as the greatest present is more than what money can buy. Ditch pricey presents for invaluable presence, including activities you can do together as a family.

4. Form A Game Plan

Though the phrase “Fail to plan and plan to fail” may seem quite threatening, it holds much truth. Walking aimlessly throughout the mall can be overwhelming in itself; fill it with hundreds of holiday shoppers, and the stress can be maxed. Form a game plan by strategizing a path of needed stores and utilizing the shopping center’s map that can often be found online.

5. Evaluate Traditions

Holiday traditions should be cherished by all, so evaluate if everyone truly enjoys the participation. And if attending to them feels more obligatory and like a chore, consider other alternatives. For instance, if the thought of dressing up, making it to dinner, and dropping a high dollar amount leading up to an event the family is burnt out on, move onto something more simple and gratifying. Plan a holiday-themed game night, ride around and look at lights with your favorite hot cocoa recipe, or make cookies for tomorrow’s family Christmas gathering.

6. Continue Satisfying Daily Habits

While the holidays may disrupt your normalcy, still try continuing the daily habits you enjoy doing. So if you relish waking up 30 minutes to enjoy your cup of coffee in the peace and quiet, do so! Allowing yourself some sort of consistency can help minimize stress throughout the day.

7. Schedule “You” Time

Though you may feel the need to be with friends and family during every waking minute throughout the holiday season, it is also extremely important to allow yourself “you” time. Schedule parts of the day where you can essentially unwind and decompress, participating in stress-relieving techniques you personally enjoy.

8. Stick to Your Health Guns

Or as much as possible at least… While it is okay to indulge on festive treats, too much sugar can not only cause blood sugar highs and lows, but fluctuate energy and mood levels. Naturally reduce sugar intake by taking small and single pieces rather than large slices of pie or handfuls of candy. And by making treats in your own kitchen, you have more ingredient control and poses the opportunity for implementing these healthy baking swaps.

9. Prepare Ahead of Time

From homemade stuffing to grandma’s infamous pecan pie recipe, you want your guests’ mouths to water as soon as they enter the front door. And while the grand finale is always worth the work, shoving all food prep into one busy morning is not the only way to achieve such outcome. Prepare items ahead of time, leaving you less stress and time in the kitchen and more time to enjoy with your close family and friends.

10. Keep Active

You may feel the pressure of hitting workouts each morning and feel even more stressed if they are neglected. But instead of missing workouts entirely during the busy holiday season, you can still keep active throughout the day by taking the stairs at stores and using your 30-minute work break for a walk. Not only does staying physically active help maintain weight, but can help lower anxiety and boost mood.

11. Pack Lightly

Though there may be excitement building around a family vacation, packing may come with anticipation and stress. Decide what items you need versus want, packing only the things necessary. Additionally, rather than worrying about lugging large gifts to the airport and passing security checkpoints, opt for a gift card or order the item online, shipping it directly to the receiver.

12. Travel Smart

Along with packing lightly, travel smart and safe based on your mode of transportation. If driving to your destination, make sure your car is maintained and equipped with adequate tire pressure, wiper fluid, etc. And if flying, always check with the airline to identify any documents you may need, how much luggage you can bring, and any delays forecasted. Allow yourself at least three hours to make it to the airport, check-in, and make it to your assigned gate.

13. Stock Up

To lessen the frequency of store runs and save you on time, stock up! You may not realize just how much wrapping paper, baking flour, and other items you may need during the holiday season, so it is better to have more than not enough.

14. Live in The Moment

But most importantly, live in the moment. The past is history and the future is unforeseen, so bask in the time you have encircled with your loved ones. That is what the holidays are for anyways, right?