Holiday Problems & Stress Survival Guide

We all have experienced holiday problems and events that cause different types of stress. When the holiday season comes, so does the level of stress that many experience.

If you have felt any of the following, it’s probably safe to say that you are already dealing with some form of stress:

  • You can’t get enough sleep
  • You are overly cranky
  • You find yourself more “on edge”
  • You are on a weight roller-coaster
  • You feel as if the world is crashing down on top of you
  • You can’t wait until the holidays are over.

holiday stress





If you are experiencing holiday stress or holiday problems, below are 10 stress reducing tips to help you survive the holidays.

1. Ask For Help

If you are having a tough time shouldering all the responsibilities that are upon you, just ask someone to help you with them. You will want to be sure that whatever task you assign to a family member is “age appropriate”.

Meaning you don’t want to give your 7 year old the job of hanging outdoor lights on top of the tree! If cooking is overwhelming, then ask each person coming over to bring something. Or, you can always go out to a restaurant to save a lot of stress! Also, Paper plates, disposable silverware, cups, one-use aluminum baking pans, and napkins can really cut down on your workload when throwing a dinner. No one likes cleaning up after a party, especially the person that has to do most of the work! Using things that can be thrown out after everything is all over can significantly reduce your stress.

2. Express Your Feelings

Let others know just how you are feeling by sharing it with them in a positive way. If things are bothering you, tell someone about it. But you should do it in a manner that doesn’t put undue stress upon them! Having a family conversation about what you are feeling can not only strengthen the bonds between you, but also elevate some of the normal stresses associated with the holidays. Make sure it is not a gripe session. Don’t let your stressful feelings turn into anger that is outwardly expressed at the expense of a loved one’s own feelings. Discussing what you are feeling instead of who you are feeling this towards can certainly help relieve stress and figure out constructive ways that each of you can work together to solve any holiday problems.

3. Don’t Be Afraid To Say No

It’s hard to tell someone you care about the word “no”. No one wants to look into the hopeful eyes of a loved one and say this word. Or to be looked upon as the “bad guy”. You may feel as if you are letting them down, or making them unhappy by saying no. But at times, you MUST. Otherwise you could create more stress for yourself either by having an additional responsibility to provide that person with whatever it is they asked of you, or by trying to attain it and being unsuccessful. Either way, simply the word “no” can save you a lot of stress during the holidays.

4. Don’t Strive For “Perfection”

Nobody’s perfect. And nothing can BE perfect, so don’t expect that! Do what you can and be happy knowing that you did all you could to make it a wonderful holiday. Trying to create a “picture perfect” holiday gathering can really cause a lot of stress. The worst part of this is that it can all be avoided by thinking realistically about what can be done and not what you feel needs to be accomplished. There is a big difference between those two. A good thing to keep in mind is that you have no control over anyone other than yourself.

Try not to let the actions of your family and friends discourage you from having a great holiday season. People will be who they are and you should learn to let go of any personal expectations of how you want the holiday gatherings to be. It won’t do anything but add more stress.

5. Know Your Limits and plan properly

Don’t over-extend yourself or your finances. Remember, the thing that people will remember most is that you were there with them, spending precious time to celebrate the joy of being together and not the physical gifts they received. YOU are worth more than a present. Don’t be hard on yourself for not getting that an expensive ipad for Julie. Do what you can and nothing more. Limiting what you can realistically do will help reduce the stresses you put on yourself. You will be a lot happier after the holidays if you watch what you spend.

You CAN avoid all this stress by creating a plan. Even if you only have 3 days left to finish your shopping, you could take an extra hour out of each day to pick up those items on your list. The best way to have a good, “less stress” holiday plan is to start one right after the holidays are over! You can get great bargains through “after holiday” sales and take those items, cross them off your list, and put them up for safe-keeping until next year’s holiday. Plus, there’s NO RUSH to complete the tasks on your “to do” list since you have an entire year to get them done!

6. Take a Break and slow down!

With everything that’s going on during the holiday season, it’s important to make some time for you to relax. Whether it’s stopping at the corner Cafe for a cup of coffee or treating yourself to a movie, doing just one small thing to take you away from the stresses of the holiday season can be a very helpful mental sigh of relief! Using some very basic relaxation breathing techniques will also help. Stop whatever it is you’re doing, close your eyes, and take in a few deep breaths. You will find this to be very soothing in times of high stress.As the body takes in more oxygen, it reduces the amount of stress hormonal releases within the body. Thereby, reducing the physical feelings of stress. If you have time in your busy day, go home and take a short, restful nap. This can help to “recharge” your mental batteries. You could even end your day with a bath or massage.

Many people are in a rush during the holidays so slow down. Enjoy your time outside. If you don’t like all the traffic, then try and structure your schedule around a time when there’s less of it.

7. Give

The TRUE spirit of the holiday season can only be experienced through the gift of giving. This could mean buying presents for the local homeless shelter or donate time to help a local charity. Many times this precious gift is more important than that of a monetary hand. If you cannot do any of those things, maybe you can help a neighbor. Be sure to get your children involved if you have them. Instilling the spirit of giving will carry something special within them for a lifetime.

8. Say “Thank You”

Everyone enjoys receiving the gift of a well deserved “thank you”. You can send Thank You cards with a personal comment. This is a project the whole family can get behind. Or, send them a “home-made” gift as your own unique way of saying thanks!

9.  Have gratitude.  When you are grateful for what you have vs what yo don’t have, you will have a better experience of life.  I love how the movie “The Secret” talks about gratitude.  You will have a whole new experience of the holidays if you begin to practice gratitude.  No matter how little money you have to spend or how far you have to travel, being grateful opens up a whole new world of possibility for people.

10. Remember What Makes the Holiday Season Special for You

The Holidays are a time of sharing and being together. Understand that family members may have a different meaning depending on events that have occurred in holidays past. The most common reason for this stress inducer is thinking and remembrance. If something pleasant has occurred for someone, that’s what they will tend to remember about the holiday seasons. If the person has experienced an incredible loss, then more than likely they will not be in a very celebratory mood. Don’t take their mood personally. Allowing each individual to have their own version of how they celebrate, or not celebrate, the holidays can really reduce your stress levels.

I hope these tips will make a difference and help you deal with holiday problems or stress. Have a wonderful, safe and stress free holiday season.



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