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Beating the Holiday Stress: Five Useful Tips


The holidays are fast approaching – and for many, that means the stress that comes along with them. Difficult family dynamics, high expectations, and hours of work cooking and cleaning can make for a not-so-happy holiday season. So how do you beat the stress?

Tip #1: Recognize your limits. If you spend your holiday attempting to split your time equally between in-laws, parents, brothers and sisters, you may be spreading yourself too thin. Consider alternating years to attend with certain factions of your family. Communication and creating healthy boundaries are the keys to maintaining difficult relationships, so be sure to inform your family of your decision early. Remember, you can’t be everything to everyone.

Tip #2: Ask for (or offer) help. If the responsibilities of the holidays always seem to fall to the same person, it breeds resentment and makes family stress worse. But certain family members may not even realize they’re not carrying their share of the load. Don’t be afraid to ask for help making sides at the Thanksgiving or Christmas feast, or alternate years to host the festivities. And if you notice a family member acting as martyr, be sure to insist on giving a helping hand.

Tip #3: Set up a children’s schedule. Even though your Aunt Suzie is great with kids, that doesn’t mean she wants to spend her whole holiday entertaining the young ones. In order to prevent one person sacrificing all of their adult time, create a childcare schedule in advance and distribute it to the family. That way, the expectations are set beforehand and one person doesn’t get stuck pretending to be a horsey for hours on end.

Tip #4: Welcome new traditions. We know it’s tough to let go of your favorite holiday traditions. But flexibility is a surefire way to reduce stress for everyone. Be open to suggestions and sensitive to the concerns of others. You may even find that you prefer the new way of doing things!

Tip #5: Skip it. You heard it right. If you’ve been having a tough year, the stress of the holidays may genuinely be too much for you to handle. Don’t feel guilty if you need to take a year off! Skipping the holiday to take a vacation or just relax can be a great way to re-energize your mind and renew your holiday spirit. You may be surprised to find yourself missing the madness and ready to welcome it the following year.

Being thankful when you’re under massive holiday stress is difficult, but try your best to remember the reason why you do it all. Keep your perspective, keep a smile on your face, and most importantly, keep your sanity in tact!

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