20 Ways to Beat Holiday Stress

Love, Self

The Holiday Season may pose lots of stress, but there are lots of tips to handle many areas!

It's that time of year again that most of us look forward to ... cautiously!

Though it’s supposed to be a Holiday Season which infers excitement and good times, it’s also a period that is fraught with stress and tension on so many different levels.  Most people want the next several weeks to offer a sense of joy, yet don’t quite know how to achieve it.

There are, in fact, lots of things you can do.  As a relationship expert,let me offer you some tips in the various areas of your life.

The Practical Side:

  1. You really don’t have to do everything yourself.  Be willing to delegate but still be in control by assigning tasks based on what you know each person can handle well.
  2. For the next couple of weeks, be willing to “let go” of some of the normal ways you do things.  Eat on paper plates, don’t make such elaborate meals.  By doing these short cuts, you’ll have more time and energy.
  3. Shop on line so you don’t have to be out in the crowds as much.
  4. When you do shop, bring a list.
  5. Shop at off-peak hours.  DInner time is likely to be a time where there are less folks out making purchases.

Taking Care of You:

6. SO much of stress has to do with how you perceive it.  Instead of looking at this time as a stressful one, think about the crowds exciting.  Even standing on line can be an opportunity to talk to people. (By the way, I offer lots of advice about stress because it has such an impact on your relationship. There's a chapter I contributed on stress and a CD about the fact that it's actually a choice!)

7. As you’re standing on line, do some deep breathing and muscle relaxing (tighten and loosen you different muscle groups).  Nobody will notice and it will help ease the physical strain.

8. Shop with a friend and make it a time to visit.  Social support helps ease stress.


9. The really good memories from your past are not about the gifts you got; they’re about the memories that were created by the smells as you walked into a Holiday home, the songs you sang, sitting by the fireplace with family or friends.  Keep up these traditions.

10. Create gifts that show the other person he or she really matters: burn a CD of tunes that are special to him or her, make an album of important pictures, put together a coupon book of chores you’ll do, invite someone to a dinner you’ll cook.

The Kids:

11. If you have to take them shopping with you, make them short periods of time and give them some assignment they can do; keeps them occupied and makes them feel important.

12. Start to teach them a charitable mindset by giving a toy or clothes or some food to those less fortunate.

13. Have them help bake cookies or decorate.  This is very much part of the whole Holiday Season.


14. It’s likely that when you get together with family, their quirks will be obvious.  Focus instead on the “whole” of the person rather than only on the quirk.

15. Create distance for yourself by making a game out of an annoying habit.  For example, “Let’s see how long it is till Aunt Mary brings up so and so” or “Let’s guess how many times Uncle Bob will tell us about such and such.”

16. If you have a real sensitivity with someone in your family, plan a code with your significant other.  If you get upset, use the code and meet privately to connect and feel safe again.

17. Understand that your mate might act a bit stressed out when he or she is with their family of origin and be supportive.

18. Try to consider that, at least, you do have family to be with during the holiday.


19. There are likely to be a variety of negative emotions that come up during this time of year - sadness, loneliness, anxiety.  Acknowledge these feelings but then try to move on.

20. Some of the best ways to move on include focusing on what’s positive in your life, reaching out to friends, and watching funny movies.  And ... this time will pass!

I truly wish for YOU a wonderful Holiday Season.

To Your Empowerment,

Dr. Karen

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