For those that spend their holidays with family and/or friends, it is common to feel joy this time of year…but for some they are looking for ways on how to handle the holiday stress. Frequently referred to as “the most wonderful time of the year,” there are many things that is appreciated about the season. Whether it is the time for giving, the first snowfall that brings happiness to those that get it or just being home with loved ones, there is much happiness that surrounds many. However, what about those that are not all smiles and happiness during this time? Whether they are financial problems, stressful travel, difficult family situations or any other concerns, the problems are there.

With the holidays right around the corner, the realities of facing these problems are coming much faster than anticipated. So if you have these problems looming and need a handle on the situation, here are 5 simple practices on how to handle holiday stress and anxiety.


Establish Your Limits and Follow Through

There are many different types of stressors that will be thrown our way and it is up to us to determine if they are worth our time to be dealt with. Therefore it is important to determine limits beforehand so if a difficult family situation does arise, being able to say no and not get involved will do more than just staying there and “taking it”. If you’re not in a great shape financially, don’t feel the need to overspend because you feel guilty If you have been in a dispute with another family member about a prior topic, don’t bring it up around others but set limits on what to say if it does come up.

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In short, it is not selfish to put your mental health first before others. If something does arise and you have set yourself to not get involved, it is more than OK to bow out early. This is extremely important when it comes to handling holiday stress


Maintain Your Daily Routine

Between the constant travel and all of the random happenings during the holidays, it is easy to fall out of your daily routine. Prioritizing the healthiest, most enjoyable aspects of our usual routines will help deal with holiday stress a lot better than most. Whether this involves reading a book, working out, ensuring that the correct exercises are implemented to avoid body pains like muscle spasms will do more if integrated at the end of the day than not doing it at all.

handling holiday stress reading

Maintaining a routine like reading a book can help minimize holiday stress.

Reach Out To Others For Support

With the holiday season bringing hectic chaos, it is important to have a support system in case. For example, if you have stressful holiday obligations, plan with your best friend (or anyone else in your life that is supportive and understanding) in advance so if things do get rough they can take a quick call to help you out. However, this must be mutual, especially during this time of year. What we take we must give back – if you are looking for support from your loved ones, you must be available to lend support for them too.

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Do Not Rely On Alcohol or Painkillers To Cope!

The holidays normally means there is access to free alcohol all day long — whether they are at family gatherings, parties or friendly get-togethers, there is no shortage of spiked apple cider and some type of whiskey. Although any of us are able to drink responsibly, there is an alarming statistic that 42% of traffic accidents are due to drinking or other influences during this time. Relating back to step 1, set a limit on how many drinks you will consume before each event. We all know alcohol and different types of painkillers take the edge away, but too much during this time does not help with handling holiday stress, but causing it for those around.


Make Sure Your Health is the Number One Priority

When our body is physically healthy we are much better equipped to handle stress. The holidays is synonymous with the cold and flu season — so if you are starting to come down with something, be sure to get plenty of rest, fluids and any sort of antibiotics to help fight it. Eating healthy meals, getting plenty of sleep and making sure our mind is not working too hard will reduce holiday stress much more than you think. For men it is even more important if you are older and experience hormonal problems outside of increases cortisol (the hormone for stress). There is a link that increased stress can be a result of low testosterone, so it is even more important to maintain your health for the holidays.

handling holiday stress relaxing

Eating healthy and getting plenty of rest can help lower your stress level.

Although these practices sound very simple, maintaining them and following through to handle your holiday stress is a lot harder. You can make your holiday season much easier if you prioritize your health, set and follow through with your boundaries and remembering that it’s more than OK to ask for help. The support of those around will do much more for you than you think.

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