5 Ways To Make The Holidays Less Stressful

Happy middle aged couple by Christmas tree
Written by Risa Schulman
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3 minutes

The holidays are right around the corner, which means sleigh bells are ringing, snow is falling, and chances are. . . you’re stressed out. The holidays can be a difficult time for many, and it’s easy to feel stretched thin between family obligations, holiday preparation, and welcoming a new year. If the upcoming holiday season has you feeling more overwhelmed than overjoyed, know you’re not alone. About 61% of Americans report feeling stressed or fatigued during this time of year. If you’re hoping to make this holiday more enjoyable, read on for our top 5 tips for making the holidays less stressful.

Read More: How To Stay Active Over The Holidays

1. Prioritize Favorite Activities

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you’re trying to fit every holiday tradition into a few short weeks. To make sure everyone has a memorable holiday season, ask your family members to choose three of their favorite holiday activities and 3 activities they can do without. By identifying a handful of activities your family loves, you’ll be able to focus your time on a few meaningful activities and cut out the rest.

2. Make A Shopping List

Whether you’re shopping at the mall or hitting “add to cart,” spending hours aimlessly searching for gifts can be draining. To maximize your time, create a shopping list for every person you want to buy a gift for. To make shopping even easier, including gift ideas and the amount you’d like to spend on each person. Making a list and sticking to it ensures you find something for everyone and keeps you from blowing your budget on impulse buys.

3. Set Boundaries

Whether it’s choosing how many holiday activities you want to participate in or determining which topics will be off-limits during your family dinner, setting boundaries can help the whole family have a less stressful holiday season. Boundary-setting can be tough, especially when it comes to family. If you’re nervous about setting boundaries with a family member or loved one, think through some talking points before your conversation. Try to be as calm and clear as possible when discussing your boundaries, and be sure to stick to them when the big day comes around.

4. Create New Traditions

2020 has forced us all to change our way of living, and chances are, your holiday season won’t look identical to years past. No matter how your life has changed this year, use the holiday season to set up new traditions you and your loved ones can enjoy. Whether it’s hosting a family zoom call instead of traveling or exchanging handmade gifts instead of buying spendy items, finding unique ways to spend time together and show your love may be the breath of fresh air you’ve been looking for.

5. Give Yourself Some Time

Between family traditions and other obligations, don’t forget to take time for yourself. Don’t feel guilty about taking time away to talk a walk, read a book, or spend time doing something you love. And, don’t forget the basics. Eating food that makes you feel good and getting enough sleep will go a long way!

Written by:

Risa Schulman


Risa Schulman, Ph.D. has been helping companies and people build wellness for 25 years.

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