women holding her head over gifts
Family,  Mental health,  Wellness

How to Cope with Holiday Season Stress

The holiday season is a time to be merry for a lot of people. However, for many, the festive season can be one of the most stressful times of the year, if you don’t know how to manage it.

It can be so stressful planning for the holidays, from gifts, activities to looking back at the year that was.

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Most of the stress associated with the holiday season is due to pressure. There is so much pressure to live up to, parties and events to attend, and getting that perfect gift.

Please take a moment to do this: Relax, Breathe and DO NOTHING for the next 5 minutes. Right Now!

How did that feel? Whew!

You might also like: 10 Ways to Quiet Down Anxiety

This year has been filled with worry, fear, and uncertainty. As a result, we have had to adjust to a different norm. That alone makes the holidays worth celebrating. Or for most quite stressful or depressing.

So, how do you deal with holiday stress?

How do you prevent overwhelm and burnout?

Take this Holiday Stress Quiz to find out if you’re holiday stressed out.

8 Great ways to Manage Holiday Stress

Release the Pressure

How you choose to celebrate the holidays should bring you joy and happiness. Take stock of the things that are pulling at you and weighing you down.

  • Are your plans truly yours?
    Make sure that you’re not taking on other people’s plans and ideas that you neglect what truly matters to you.
  • Do you have the means to do everything you’ve set out to do?
    The holidays aren’t all about splurging. You can still have a great time without breaking your bank balance.
  • Are you creating a meaningful experience?
    Don’t celebrate just because everyone is doing it. There is so much to be grateful for that you can focus on.

These may be hard questions to answer, but necessary to relieve the pressure you may be under.

Set Boundaries

It’s ok to say NO. You can’t do everything and be everywhere at the same time and still be sane. Not even Superman can!

Help out where and when you can. As much as there’s so much going during this time, it’s also time to unwind, time to spend with family, connect, and have fun.

If you can’t make it to a function, it’s ok. Don’t try and spread yourself thin to please everyone. People are more understanding than you think. If not, tough luck🤭

Saying yes when you should and want to say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. 

Boundaries are crucial for a healthy relationship with others. It limits expectations and will help you have control of your life.

Have a Holiday Schedule

Schedule and plan for the holiday season. I personally like to plan from late October right through to the 1st of January.

Add birthdays, holidays, special days, work functions, weddings, festivals, etc. Put it down on your schedule so you can see exactly what days have events and if you’re available for all of them.

Plan for your holiday shopping and meal preparations. Anything that needs time should be on your schedule. Planning reduces holiday stress.

Be realistic with what you can do and where you can go. Don’t fill your schedule to the point where you don’t have a day to just relax and unwind. Give yourself room for changes and enough time to shuffle things around.

Get your Free Holiday Planner

Have a Budget

Once you’ve done your planning. Set out a budget for all you want to do. Do you have enough funds for gifting, gatherings, outings, lunches, etc?

Don’t let the frenzy of holiday shopping cause you to overspend or splurge. Have a list of what you need and take enough money for each shopping trip.

It can be easy to get carried away with spending only to find yourself left with no money. Don’t take credit or loans just to cover the holiday expenditure.

Instead, opt for homemade gifts, free fun activities and other means of celebrating that won’t leave you penniless or stressed over finances.

Plan your Meals (Lunches)

Plan your menus and grocery needs. Don’t let go of your healthy eating habits. The holidays are the perfect excuse for over-indulgence.

This Weekly Meal Plan Cookbook is great for planning your meals. It’s recipes come with a grocery list for the week, substitutions and are easy to make for any day of the week.

Whether you’re hosting or going out, try to keep to healthy foods and portions. Drink as much water as possible, get enough rest and some workouts too.

Make Time for Yourself

Don’t forget to take care of yourself while you’re seeing to everyone and everything around you. Try to incorporate the things you love into the festivities.

Plan activities that you’ll enjoy together with your family or friends. Plan some time out in your schedule to nurture yourself. Read, write or take a walk. Do something that’s just for you.

The stress from the holiday season can cause burn out if you’re not making time for self-care.

Accept Change

This year won’t be like other holidays. You need to accept that there are changes and certain restrictions to what you can do. If your loved ones can’t make it over try to have a virtual session and share pictures and videos.

There might be certain holiday traditions that you may miss out on, try to make new ones. It might be challenging but it can still be celebratory.

The holidays don’t have to be perfect, they just have to meaningful and bring joy. If you’re feeling down or sad, acknowledge that as well. You can’t pretend to be happy if you’re not just because it’s the holidays.

Gratitude journal to help aid holiday stress

Practice Gratitude

While you might not be as cheery this holiday, there is still something to be grateful for. Have a gratitude session with yourself and one with your loved ones where you can share all that you’re thankful for.

Gratitude is good for overall well-being. It helps bring a sense of purpose and fulfilment. Gratitude can reduce the effects of stress, depression and anxiety.

You can start a gratitude journal to help you get started if you feel stuck. Be more kind and helpful to others and yourself. Gratitude is helpful in nurturing healthy relationships.


Don’t let the holiday buzz or blues get you down. When the holidays start being a drag and dreadful take these steps to prevent stress and overwhelm.

With a little planning and some positive thinking, you can find joy and happiness during the holidays.

Bring back the cheer to the holidays.

Love, Everyday


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  • Nadine Williamson

    Great article – lots of useful tips to help through the most stressful time of the year! Love Christmas, but it’s such hard work!

  • Tammy Harris

    I love these tips. Every year we seem to stress ourselves out for the holidays and with this year already being stressful, I think if we just try to take it easy on ourselves and maybe get back to just the basics it would be a little easier for everyone involved.
    Have a blessed day~

  • Annalise

    This is spot on because I am always so stressed around the holidays. There’s so much to do and so many places to be. Thankfully this year will be much more simple, but still stressful. Your tips are very helpful!

  • Elaine

    great article on relieving holiday stress. In these times we are stressed enough and cannot be with those we love, so we should do whatever we can to relieve stress.

    • nmasipa

      So true. It’s been a tough and strange year. It’s important to do the little things to relieve the stress.

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