Sunday, December 15, 2013

10 Tips for Handling Holiday Stress

Ah yes, the Christmas season is upon us and as the hustle and bustle increases so does the stress. Most of the time we can handle it, sometimes we can't. When those times hit there are ways to combat them.  Here are a few of the several ways I found on  that can be applied all through the year, not just during the holidays. 

First you must realize that "until you accept responsibility for the role you play in creating or maintaining it, your stress level will remain outside your control".  Know what you can and can't do.  If the church choirmaster asks you if you can make ten matching halos and wings for the children's choir and you really don't have the time.  Say no.  You won't go to hell for it.  If you’re child asks you to drive him/her somewhere and you’re really swamped with other things – say no. You won't be reported to the Child Protection Agency for voicing it.

Put the most important/necessary tasks of your to-do list on top and the least at the bottom. If it has very little importance you might consider not doing it at all. 
See if you can volunteer some of the others in your family to help with some of the special cleaning, decorating and chores that are a part of "getting ready".  I make a list of everything that needs to be done. I then tell my family members to pick a chore, put their name next to it and cross it off when it’s completed.  It works in my house, maybe it will it yours.

You don't have to be an angel, so if there's something bothering you, talk it out.  Don't let it come to a boil inside until it blasts out making you sound like a shrilling grinch.

Keep things in perspective.  If something is irritating you, ask yourself will it matter in a month?  A year? Is it really worth getting upset over? If the answer is no, focus your time and energy elsewhere.  

Think of things that are positive, that includes, besides rainbows, puppies and kittens; your own good qualities and strengths such as compassion, creativity, honesty, courage, and/or loyalty, to name a few. Also try to think more positively.  If you feel everything is going wrong, think, I can get through this if I take it one step at a time. Or I’ve been through this before, I can do it again.

No one's perfect, so don't demand perfection from yourself.  Even Martha Stewart makes mistakes, though she does use the word perfect a lot.

Don't try to control those things that you can't.  You can control how you will react but some things you don't have any power over, like Uncle Joe.

Get enough sleep. Studies have shown that people function best after seven to eight hours of sleep.

Try to exercise.  It helps to boost endorphins and reduce stress—and research shows that 20 minutes each day is all that is needed to experience benefits.

And lastly do something for fun once a day.  Throw in a CD or grab your i-pod and dance until you feel a smile coming on. Put together a puzzle with your family. Go to a park and take pictures. Do something silly either by yourself or with loved ones.

Another good site for tips is the American Heart Association

Hope this helps a little bit.  Have a wonderful and hopefully calmer holiday season.


  1. Great advice Donna! Ahhh, the power of the word 'no'! Great column. Merry Christmas.

    1. Yes, so many women, especially mothers, have a hard time saying no but it has to be said at times with no guilt attached.
      Merry Christmas to you too.

  2. Such great advice, Donna!

    "until you accept responsibility for the role you play in creating or maintaining it, your stress level will remain outside your control"

    That is so spot on. Sometimes we have to accept that some of our stress comes from ourselves.

    Merry Christmas!!

    1. Thanks,glad you agree.
      You have a wonderful Christmas, sweetie.

  3. Lol, something fun "once" a day might be a tall order but lots a very good tips. I think I can swing a 20 min workout! Seriously though, I agree that we're harder on ourselves, especially around this time of year. Good to keep it all in perspective. Happy, Happy New Year to you and yours, Donna :)

  4. Hey 20 minutes is better than nothing and doing something fun doesn't have to take a long time or be expensive. Perspective- that's what it kind of boils down to.

    Thank you for stopping by and may you and your family have a Merry Christmas and fantastic New Year.

  5. First you must realize that "until you accept responsibility for the role you play in creating or maintaining it, your stress level will remain outside your control."

    So true. Thankfully, I learned that lesson years ago. Since then, I am much happier and so are the people around me. I'm not constantly complaining about all the things I have to do and how overwhelmed I am.

    I do a 20-minute Winsor Pilates workout every day and it really makes a difference in my frame of mind and attitude toward my body.

    I agree wholeheartedly about taking time for yourself each day. (I don't count the exercise though!) Sometimes it's as simple as savoring a glass of wine and reading another chapter of a great book. Other times it's a getaway!

    Merry Christmas, Donna, and thanks for the reminders and reassurance that it's okay to be a little self-centered during the holidays--for everyone's sake. :)

  6. You're welcome, Lisa. Those are a few good suggestions on taking time for yourself. Thanks.

    You have a very Merry Christmas too. Appreciate you coming by.