7 Tips For Banishing Holiday Stress This Year

Go easy on yourself this holiday season.

sad woman at Christmas getty

The holiday season is known for surprises. Aside from bringing unwanted family members and friends, it can also bring holiday stress, anxiety, and depression.

During the holiday season, there's often a list of demands — cooking meals, shopping for gifts, and baking cookies. When will it end?!

This may be the time to start your stress-reduction plan, and it doesn't have to be difficult.

The first step is to stop saying "yes" when you really mean "no." You don't have to please everyone.


What's more, you shouldn't be around people that aren't respectful of your boundaries.

RELATED: 6 Simple Steps To Declutter Your Home For The Holidays

Here are 7 steps for banishing the holiday stress this year.

1. Stop obsessing about the future.

This is another thing you worry about. You can’t predict the future. Yet, you spend so much time trying to. It’s alright to plan ahead, but don’t obsess.


Stop worrying about having a bigger house or a better car, or if you'll be able to pay for your children’s college tuition. This keeps you away from enjoying the present.

Pay attention to your children now and they will remember the time you spend with them more than anything.

2. Stop thinking about the past.

It’s easy to have regrets about the past. You can’t go back.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t learn from the past. But sitting around constantly having regrets about the past doesn’t do anyone any good.

This will keep you stuck. What you need to do is let go and move on.

3. Work in small rewards daily to your schedule.

You work hard and you want to enjoy life. Start to take delight in simple things.


One of my favorite treats is having a cup of coffee in the morning with my cat. He sits on my lap and purrs, which I actually find to be very relaxing. It’s a great way to start the day, and really sets a good tone.

If you have a pet, spend five minutes playing with them before you leave for work. Buy yourself a frothy coffee drink, if you’d like.

Whatever simple pleasures that make you happy, do more of them — but make sure they're guilt-free.

4. Get enough rest.

You don’t have to finish every last project before you go to bed. I see this all the time, people put sleep last on the priority list. Sleep is how your body recharges.

When you don’t get enough sleep, you're more forgetful and more stressed out. This is when your brain and body rest.


We aren’t meant to go all the time. When was the last time you had a good night’s rest? If you can’t remember, then you're long overdue.

Sleep at least eight hours a night or sleep how much you need to, so you can feel rested. That’s what is important.

RELATED: 9 Types Of People Who Seriously Struggle During The Holidays

5. Don’t live on caffeine or any other substance, for that matter.

Do you rely on caffeine to get through the day? If the answer is "yes," then you need to cut back.

Caffeine fuels anxiety. Not to say that you can’t enjoy a morning cup of coffee, but you might want to stop there — especially if you feel stressed out most of the time.


Replace caffeine with vegetable juice and make sure there's no added sugar. Your body and mind will appreciate it.

6. Make sure to exercise.

You’re probably thinking, "I just don’t have time for it!" I’m here to tell you that you do.

Exercise is just as good for you emotionally as it is for you physically. When people don’t exercise, they are more stressed out and at a higher risk for disease.

Instead of eating another donut in the morning, go to the gym. Start your day with a good sweat and reap the rewards.

7. Breathe.

This may sound obvious, because if you're not breathing, you're not alive. But when you're stressed, you either hold your breath or breathe shallowly.


The first thing you want to do is get a hold of your breathing. You may need to sit down. Clear your mind and stay in the present. Slowly inhale and slowly exhale.

This will help you feel calmer during the crisis.

You will get through this holiday stress.

Everything doesn't have to be perfect. We're still living in COVID times. It's alright to feel afraid and stay home.

Keep social engagements light and stay in when possible.

Once you reduce the stress in your life, you can live the life you have always wanted.

RELATED: 4 Most Depressing Things About The 2020 Holiday Season & How To Remain Optimistic

Lianne Avila is a Marriage & Family Therapist helping people in San Mateo, CA who are looking to create a life that is happier and more fulfilling. Please subscribe to Lianne’s newsletter on Lessons for Love to learn more about her services and expertise.