manage holiday stress

15 Ways You Can Manage Holiday Stress

December 4, 2023

As happy as the holidays are, the whirlwind of busy days can also be very stressful for so many reasons. The hustle and bustle of shopping for those perfect gifts and navigating family functions can cause overwhelming anxiety. Managing holiday stress is crucial for maintaining your personal and emotional well-being during the holidays. Here are 15 tips to help you navigate and reduce holiday stress this season:

15 Ways You Can Manage Holiday Stress


Plan Ahead

Scurrying around at the last minute to get things done is stressful! Create a to do list and plan out your tasks. Staying organized can help manage holiday stress!


Set a Budget

Financial stress throughout the holidays is very common. Setting a budget for gifts, food, and decorations can ease some of that stress.


Practice Mindfulness and Self-care

Be kind to yourself. Give yourself a gift. Take time for YOU, be mindful of your emotions. Spend some quiet time whether you meditate, practice yoga, read a book, or watch a movie…YOU matter.


Ask for Help

You don’t have to do it all yourself. Delegate tasks, ask for family members to help decorate or to bring dishes, to help with set-up and clean-up.


It’s OK to say NO/ Create Boundaries

Whether, work, family or friends, it is OK  to decline invitations to parties and events. It’s OK to say NO to foods that you know you should avoid, and to not attend celebrations if your heart just isn't into it. Your well-being should come first.


Set Realistic Expectations/Don’t go Overboard

It is important to recognize what you can or cannot do during the holidays. Set realistic goals for what you can accomplish this holiday season.


Don’t Expect Perfection

It’s the holidays and almost nothing goes perfectly as planned. Expect imperfection, celebrate the moments with family and friends and everything will be ok!


Maintain Healthy Habits

You can stay on track during the holidays. It may not be easy, but you can stick to most, if not all, of your health habits. Stay true to your exercise plan and eating routine. Get some rest and regular sleep.


Be Flexible

The holidays can be so unpredictable. Not everything has to take place at the exact dates and times as you may hope for. Be open to adjust the meal times for your celebrations. The dishes can wait to be washed, the clean-up doesn’t have to be immediately after presents are opened or the food fest has taken place.


Avoid Family Drama

Keep a positive attitude, avoid those touchy, upsetting topics. (Politics is a big NO!) Don’t overindulge in alcoholic beverages and stay clear of those that do. Moderation is the key.


Enjoy the Outdoors

Take time to enjoy the season with a little outdoor activity. Take a walk and enjoy nature. Soak in the weather and schedule some family time with some outdoor games.


Create a New Tradition

For many families, some holiday traditions are a given; wearing matching pajamas, having an ugly sweater contest, bundling up and viewing holiday lights. This year, have some fun by being creative with a new holiday tradition. Maybe host a family cookie exchange with your favorite homemade recipes, ask family members to bring a few cans of food to be donated to a food pantry, create care packages for elderly neighbors…the list is endless!


Practice Gratitude

Remind yourself of all of the things you have to be grateful for this season and always:

  • Your spouse or partner
  • Your children
  • Improved health
  • Friends & Family
  • A job
  • Food on the table
  • Your home
  • Nature


Practice Random Acts of Kindness

It feels good to give during the holidays. From helping a neighbor in need, to complimenting a complete stranger, random acts of kindness don’t have to cost you money. Volunteer at your favorite animal shelter or charity, leave a holiday goodie bag for your mail carrier, your garbage collector, firefighter and police. Send care packages to soldiers.


Stay Connected to your Support System

Anxiety, stress, and depression often comes hand in hand with the holiday season. It is important to stay connected to where you find the most support. Whether it be a mental health professional, a support group, close friends or family that will listen, don’t be afraid to reach out.

Remember to take deep breaths, laugh a lot, take time for YOU, and have as much fun as you can fit in throughout the holidays!

Tammy J. Colter is an OH staff writer and has proudly served the ObesityHelp community since 1999.

manage holiday stress


Tammy J. Colter is an OH staff writer and has proudly served the ObesityHelp community since 1999, helping members and professionals alike. Tammy wears many hats at ObesityHelp, she works as an author, editor, and account manager. Read more articles by Tammy!