Four Ways to Beat Holiday Stress

Image from Psychology Today

The Christmas season can be overwhelming. Managing traditions, a heavy end-of-year workload, financial stress, even time spent with extended family can contribute to poor mental health. Here are ways you can manage your stress during “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year”: 

Set boundaries. 

This is the most important (and probably the most difficult) part of combating holiday stress. The more you run up against holiday traditions and expectations from friends and family, the more potential there is to disappoint people. And that’s okay! It’s hard, but this is exactly the time you need to take careful inventory of yourself. Ask yourself these questions: 

  1. What are the most important things to me right now?
  2. What do I need to let go of?
  3. Who can I ask for help?


According to Science Daily, the holidays is exactly the time you should be getting physical activity. Here’s what exercise physiologist Erica Christ has to say about it: 

“When times get crazy, the thing people give up is exercise, and that’s the key thing a person needs….the burst of energy that you get from exercise can help burn the adrenaline off and calm you down.”

Physical activity can stimulate dopamine production in your brain, which can improve your mood. Even if it’s just for half an hour, a little exercise can go a long way. 

Alone time. 

I’ve written about this before: taking time to be alone benefits your mental health during the holidays. Simply making the choice to be alone and do something you like to do can calm you down and even nurture your creative side! 

Self care. 

In an excellent article aimed at helping nurses de-stress during the holidays, Jennifer Lelwica Buttaccio writes: 

As natural-born caregivers, it’s almost standard practice to put other people’s needs before your own. But if you want to beat burnout, it’s essential you incorporate a variety of strategies to help you unwind, relax, and rest each day…If need be, mark it on your calendar, and make these self-care activities non-negotiable.

In short: relax. Breathe deeply. And call me if you need someone to talk to. 

Satu Woodland is owner and clinician of Mental Health Solutions, an integrative mental health practice located at Bown Crossing in Boise, Idaho. If you would like to discuss the information in this blog further with her, please call 208-918-0958. She sees adolescents and adults. Information in this blog is not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider about decisions regarding your health.


Leave a Reply