How to Relieve Stress During the Holidays

how to relieve stress during the holidays

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The time between Thanksgiving and New Years is magical. The lights, music, movies, giving, and traditions make this time of year extra special. All that magic, gift-giving, and togetherness can also come with a bit of extra stress…sometimes A LOT of extra stress! The pressure of finding the perfect gift, the strain on the pocketbook, and the busyness of shopping, wrapping, prepping for guests, and attending holiday parties can tip the scale out of balance when it comes to taking care of yourself. Feeling exhausted, stretched too thin, and overwhelmed not only weakens your immune system, but can leave you feeling like the Grinch. We’re gifting you a little insight and inspiration on how to relieve stress during the holidays so you can enjoy each merry moment!

How to relieve stress during the holidays


First and foremost, pause. As the saying goes, stop and smell the roses! Pause long enough to allow your awareness to rest in the joy and magic of the season. Stop and take it all in! 

Pausing can look different for everyone, but a few examples include journaling, meditating and reflecting on how this time of year makes you feel. Pausing is really just about using intention to enjoy the special moments that this time of year offers. 

Even something as simple as taking time to discover and enjoy Christmas light displays can be a special way to slow down in this season. Growing up, we have fond memories of driving through our local park and different neighborhoods around town to marvel at the beautiful lights while listening to Christmas music. Being intentional to really stop and enjoy what this season offers makes great memories to look back on.

Christmas lights display


Gratitude can make all the difference in shifting perspective. When you’re overwhelmed with the chaos that also comes with this time of year, take a few short moments to sit with all you’re grateful for. Gratitude is powerful! It can soften the feelings of stress, and shift you back into enjoyment of the season.

cozy winter scene with blanket, mug and journal

Planning & Organization

The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas seems to go by at warp speed. Being intentional with your planning and organization can go a long way in maintaining a sense of overall balance. 

  1. Lists! Keep yourself organized with daily and weekly task lists, Christmas gift lists, event lists, grocery shopping lists, and meal lists. When you’re organized, it’s easier to stay on top of it all. Plus, what’s more satisfying than being able to check something off a list?! 
  2. Have a schedule. Reduce stress by managing your time with a plan for what you’re doing and when. Shopping, meal-prepping, wrapping, cleaning, exercising, decorating, and even the all-important me-time get a place on the schedule (amongst your day-to-day activities). 
  3. Start early! Spreading out those extra tasks can help lighten the overwhelm. We disagree with the adage that you can’t start planning for Christmas before Thanksgiving! If you get some of the responsibilities taken care of early, you have more time to just enjoy the season!
  4. Start a Christmas Club savings account and budget all year. This takes the strain off the pocketbook come November and December!
  5. Make food ahead of time. Having meal-prep days beforehand means you don’t have to spend the holidays in the kitchen! Our family has an annual Bake-A-Thon the week before Christmas to make all the baked goods for those special days. It’s fun getting together and tackling what could be a daunting task for one, with many hands. Get the kids involved to make it a seasonal tradition for them too. Crank the Christmas music and you’ve got a roomful of delicious joy!
Christmas cookies


We tend to pack a lot into a short period of time during this season. It can be exhausting to keep up with, and can eat into your rest and relaxation time. Making sure to prioritize downtime this time of year is important for so many aspects of your well-being, including your stress levels and your immune system! Remember the planning we just talked about? Physically pencil downtime into your schedule. Whether that’s writing in your bedtime so you can prioritize those essential 7 to 8 hours of rejuvenating sleep or penciling in a night of holiday movies. Make sure you give yourself time to rest this time of year! When you’re well-rested, you can appreciate each magical holiday moment more fully.

If you happen to have a night of less-than-ideal sleep or just need a technique to help you recharge, we love Yoga Nidra as a way to rest and power up. It’s a type of guided body scan that’s both relaxing and rejuvenating. The Insight Timer app is free and has a plethora of Yoga Nidra meditations to choose from. If you don’t know where to start, here’s one to try.

Someone's feet resting in front of a Christmas tree


Taking care of yourself first helps you show up feeling great, in all aspects of your life. This should be a priority, especially this time of year when things can get a little hectic. Self-care is all about checking in with yourself on what you need to feel your best, WITHOUT feeling guilty about it! Maybe it’s going to bed early, maybe it’s taking an Epsom salt bath or diffusing essential oils, or maybe it’s taking time to chat with a friend (or counselor). Take the time to check in and honor what you need to feel supported and amazing so you can truly enjoy this holiday season! Self-care each day keeps Scrooge at bay! 🙂

Sign up to receive a free download of our 30-day Self-Care Guide for some self-care inspiration!

relaxing in a bath

Health Habits

This time of year can wreak havoc on our health habits. Don’t fret if you fall out of your typical healthy lifestyle patterns, offer yourself grace. Just make sure to get back to what’s important to you. Nourish yourself with healthy food and pass on the sugar when and where you can. Move your body with yoga, weights, or simply walking to stay on top of your movement goals. No time for the gym? We love 30-minute home YouTube workouts as a way to fit exercise into a busy schedule. (If you’re needing inspiration for a YouTube workout series, you might find this post helpful: Caroline Girvan Fuel Series review.) Ultimately, it’s a choice how you want your health habits to fit into your life this time of year. You get to choose! 

Christmas meal

Here are a few of our health-related posts you might find helpful:

We hope this conversation helps lighten the stress so you can truly enjoy this incredible time of year! With all the gratitude we’re feeling for this past year there’s no room for stress to take away from our enjoyment of this magical season! We hope your Holidays are filled with joy and love! Cheers ❤

Need last-minute Christmas Gift Ideas? These Gift Guides have you covered!

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