Keep Holiday Stress Under Control

Posted: December 1, 2015

The holidays are supposed to be a time of joy and happiness but they don’t always turn out that way. Often they bring stress and a sense of overwhelming...

One cause of holiday stress is the difference between our expectations and reality. We tend to have high expectations which cause us to overextend ourselves when making preparations for the holidays. Having to decorate, shop, and bake on top of our everyday obligations can lead to stress and fatigue.

Below are some tips for keeping stress under control during the holidays, and learning to relax and enjoy the season:

  • Decide what is really important and choose the traditions which you value. Don’t try to do it all. Discuss past holidays. What worked? What didn’t? Put your energy into the experiences that elicit meaning and joy and let go of the rest.
  • When cherished, old traditions are no longer possible because of changing circumstances, collaborate with family and friends to create new ones that make you feel the joy of the season.
  • Identify predictable sources of stress and decide in advance how to cope with them. Allow extra time for all errands. Listen to holiday music if you’re stuck in heavy traffic. Avoid shopping when stores are most crowded. Shop on-line or by catalog to avoid the crowds.
  • Do less. Spend less. Enjoy more. Give what you can and want to give. Avoid thinking of giving as an obligation or burden. Consider other alternatives to gift-giving.
  • Give of yourself to help others. This makes for a memorable family project. Consider adopting a family; visit or call someone who may be lonely; volunteer with the Salvation Army, a homeless shelter, or a local community center.
  • Take good care of yourself. Get enough sleep. Eat healthy and get at least 30 minutes of exercise a day.
  • Balance your time commitments so you have some time every day to relax and do something you enjoy. Take a walk, call a friend, enjoy a relaxing bath, or take a nap.
  • Spend time together as a family during the holidays. No matter how many cookies we bake, decorations we hang, or gifts we purchase, the best part of the season is good times with family and friends.

Contact Information

Karen Thomas
  • Extension Educator, Food, Families & Health
Phone: 570-963-6842