Thursday, December 8, 2011

Tips For Reducing Stress During the Holidays {Part 2}

When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things - not the great occasions - give off the greatest glow of happiness.  ~Bob Hope

A few days ago I posted part 1 of the series on reducing stress during the holidays. If you missed it, you can check it out here.

Obviously there are a LOT of different things you can do to reduce stress, so here are 5 more tips for reducing stress:

  • Focus on the "little joys": It's easy to get caught up in the big things of the Christmas season. However, it's often the little or simple things that we remember (see the quote above). When I think of Christmas, it's not the big activities that I think about (they may be "big", but that can lead to more stress too), but the little things: drinking hot chocolate by the fire, watching cheesy Christmas movies, or sleeping next to the Christmas tree with my brothers. None of these are great occasions, but they are the things I ache for all year round and look forward to anxiously as Christmas approaches. 
  • PLAN! (yet be flexible): Plan our your menus & go shopping ahead of time. There's a lot of food that you can purchase a week or two in advance, which will be helpful in avoiding large lines. This will also (hopefully) ensure that you don't forget something essential along the way. 
  • Be Flexible in Creating New Traditions: Ok, I have to admit: this was really hard for me to type  and i'm having a slight panic attack just thinking about it. Seriously, I'm a big "traditions" girl, so I know how tough it can be to be flexible in letting go of, or starting, a tradition. However, because families and friends are always changing, flexibility in this area is important in order to reduce stress (and stay HAPPY throughout the holiday season). Take a deep breath, engage in positive self talk, and tell yourself that you are ok. It is also fine to tell those around you that it is stressful for you to try a new tradition, but that you are trying hard to enjoy it. Acknowledging how you are feeling is fine!
  • Ask For Help! Maybe holidays bring out a nasty side of family members, and you need help from a counselor to learn how to best deal with this. OR, maybe it's help in preparing for a party. Remember that we aren't meant to do life alone, and social support is crucial for a healthy life. Ask your friends, family, or a professional for help if you need it!
  • Continue to practice gratitude and thankfulness: I wrote an entire post on this practice, and you can check it out here. Regularly practicing this can lower blood pressure and make you less hostile, which is definitely important during the holiday season! 
*This post is part of a series on various aspects of health during the holidays. Make sure to stay tuned for more posts on this subject.

Now it's your turn:
How do you deal with stress in any of the areas above? Do you struggle to feel "ok" when traditions change, or are you more of a "go with the flow" person? 


  1. Thank you for sharing this. Times can become difficult during the holiday season as we all tend to get a bit busy. Decreasing your stress level is the key. Great tips! i enjoyed reading this. #commenthour

  2. Great post, and so important to think about.

    One thing I have to do is to let go of wanting to do EVERYTHING for the holidays. My ideas get a little too ambitious at times, and then I get stressed and overwhelmed by my own grand ideas.

    I have had to let go of this holiday ambition, to scale back my expectations and instead of, oh, writing a mammoth Christmas letter and creating individual hand-painted cards, I'm just gonna send a photo card with a small message - something more doable!

    I found your blog via last night's #commenthour, by the way. :)