Tips to Avoid Holiday Stress!

Tips to Avoid Holiday StressSitting in holiday traffic…

Waiting on long lines…

Getting stuck in mall gridlock…

These can all increase your stress level each holiday season, or Anytime of the Year, for that matter. 

Combine these problems with a huge list of holiday tasks to accomplish, it’s no wonder you are feeling Less than Merry!   Try these tips to help stay far ahead of holiday stress.

Two Part Stress Reduction Plan:

  1. Take care of yourself – FIRST, for a change!

  2. Then, take care of everyone and everything else!

Be aware of the major holiday stressors:

  • Too much to do!

  • Crowds, traffic and long lines!

  • Overspending & Unplanned Debt!

  • Weight gain due to merriment or stress eating!

Try when you can, to plan to avoid or stay ahead of these stressful activities. 

Make lists to keep organized, and don’t try to do everything.  Shop off hours or online whenever possible.  Plan how much money you should need to spend, then add a little on for the extras that always come up.  Watch what you eat so you won’t need to add losing weight to your resolutions.  Read more for tips to help reduce stress.

Tips to reduce Holiday stress

Smart Ways to take Care of Yourself

Get enough sleep, eat healthy foods and stay hydrated.  If you are run down or sick, you won’t get much accomplished at all.  Have a healthy eating and exercising routine and remember to stick with it, especially during the holiday season.

Choose, NOT to Gain Weight this Season.  Make a conscious effort to take good care of yourself by eating sensibly and taking the time to exercise.  Gaining weight is very common during the winter holiday season.  Gaining weight adds stress, guilt and depression that you can avoid.  Stress eating, plus holiday festivities can often lead to a weight gain of 5-10 pounds or more.  Counteract that statistic by making a plan to stay ahead of your stress and keep up a simple exercise regimen.  If you don’t have an exercise plan, click here for ideas.

Remember to walk and get some exercise.  Walking and exercise can help clear your head and give you time to think.  Too many hours hunched over wrapping gifts or cooking isn’t good for your back.  Taking a break, makes you that much more focused when you get back on task.

Plan some days to have Nothing To Do!   This gives you time to rest, recharge and rejuvenate.  This puts you in a more relaxed state of mind and better mood to make the next list of too many things to do!  Don’t forget to pamper yourself a little or even a lot if you have time!

Done is better than Perfect.  A friend recently reminded me of this wise thinking.  Thank goodness, I finally learned this lesson in the second half of my life!

Just because there are 30+ online sites that could print my holiday photo card, doesn’t mean I need to do price comparisons of all of them.  Even when I do choose my favorite site, just because they have 2086 designs to choose from, does Not mean I need to peruse and consider them all. 

Often too many choices, causes more problems.  Pick the first one that looks great and just Go with it!!   I did it, twice now!  My card was fabulous no regrets!

Don’t begin traditions that will take too much time or cause more stress.  You know that special tradition you like to do each year, but it is too much work?  Consider changing or updating your traditions.

Holiday Don’ts

Don’t try to do everything yourself

Don’t overspend!

Don’t overcommit!

Don’t overeat!

Don’t over complicate your menu

Don’t get over-served!

Delegate chores and jobs.  Are you “better than others” at doing many of the holiday chores and tasks?  Very likely you are!  Do you have time to Do Everything Yourself?  Probably not!  Learn to delegate, it gets easier as you go.  Giving up control of making everything perfect is difficult.  It also has wonderful benefits, and a few laughs, as well.

Don’t forget to plan your own time to get ready for a party.  I often get so wrapped up in decorating the house and preparing food that I forget to leave enough time for myself to get dressed.  Now I get myself ready several hours before party time so that I only need a quick change before guests arrive.

Prioritize & Stay Organized

Set mini goals first, rather than looking at your entire To Do list, of 76 big tasks to accomplish, which is sure to overwhelm you.

Chose two tasks you hope to accomplish each day.   Then, plan which job will be third if you have the time.  This gives you small victories by being able to cross these items off your to do list.


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Map out your calendar for which items have a deadline and when.  This can help you with prioritizing which jobs need to be accomplished each week.  There are many jobs that will definitely get done and other tasks that will very likely get completed.  The trick is to map out a plan for which tasks have a specific deadline and which are more general.  Finishing your holiday card makes sense to do early and is not something to put off until later.  One relative got so far behind, she made New Years’ cards instead!  Great problem solving!

Prioritize your Holiday Lists:

Three sections are needed

  • Must Get Done List

  • Will Probably Get Done List

  • I Can’t Believe I am so Caught up List- I even have time for this……

This prioritizing along with my calendar, is what helps me avoid stress more than anything else during holiday season or any other busy time. 


Set a Holiday Budget and stick to it!   There are so many reasons that people over-spend and get themselves into financial trouble.  Try to avoid the pit-falls.  Plan ahead, make lists, don’t resort to impulse buying.  Make or bake some gifts if you have time and talent.  Giving coupons for babysitting, a night off of cooking, dinner and a movie are a creative solution to help avoid over-spending.

When you need to do the last minute cleaning, just before guests arrive – get help!   Take a laundry basket, put it in the middle of the room and have everybody throw everything into it that doesn’t belong in the room or area.  Then have your kids go hide that laundry basket in the basement or a closet where no one can find the evidence!

Start doing less and giving up some control. For example, if you like a perfect Christmas tree that is color coordinated and good enough to be featured in a magazine, you will most certainly, stress yourself out.

You can reduce decorating stress by allowing your children to decorate the tree or other parts of the house all by themselves.   I did it, and nothing bad happened.  I kind of laugh when I look at our tree, but that’s okay too!

The bigger our family gets the more Enormous our holiday gatherings become.  Be sure to ask everyone to bring something and even suggest what they can bring.  At the very least organize a list of what you already have and what is still needed.  I even prioritize my cooking list for the items that I will definitely cook and a few items that maybe if I’m all caught up I can make as well.  Don’t overbook your oven with too many foods to heat.

Taking care of yourself first puts you in a good frame of mind to take care of your family and make the holidays a pleasant time.  Yes, before Thanksgiving even arrived, I was feeling intense stress which didn’t go away when the turkey was gone.  I remembered to slow down, take better care of myself and organize all my thoughts and lists.  Not only did I begin feeling calmer almost immediately, I started getting more things accomplished as well.

So slow down, take care of yourself and get organized – I promise it helps!

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  1. I just came across your post while sitting in my car waiting for my son to come out of
    dive team practice. I was miserably evaluating my own pre holiday stress level! Thanks for the excellent organizational tips and for helping to put my mind at ease! My lists and self pampering will begin tonight:)

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