Holiday stress? Fend it off now with these tips

Posted by Peter Reisner, M.D.
December 18, 2015

holiday stressThe holidays are a time for family and cheer, but making sure the house is clean, the food is ready, and the presents are wrapped and ready to be opened can be extremely overwhelming. These factors can bring unwanted stress and depression in a time meant for happiness.

There are some important, practical tips that can help to minimize the stress that accompanies the holidays. These tips may even help you enjoy the holidays more than expected.

Through the endless parties, cooking, shopping and cleaning, try taking one of these steps to ensure you have a stress-free holiday:

  1. Plan ahead. Between co-workers, friends and family, it’s inevitable that holiday parties will end up on the same day. Make sure to plan ahead on what you can attend and when. If you’re hosting the holidays, plan what meals you will be eating to help you stay organized and make grocery shopping easier.
  2. Say no. With all of the holiday parties coming up, it is OK to say no to a few or all of them. It also will help relieve some stress. Try sharing your to-do list with other family members.
  3. Plan spending. The holidays mean spending money. Make a budget plan ahead of time. Spending money on your loved ones is important, but it’s also important to pay your energy bill. Don’t buy gifts that you’ll be paying off for the rest of the year.
  4. Create relaxing surroundings. Turn on some music, light some candles and open the windows on a sunny day. Research has found that listening to music and the scent of citrus can boost feelings of well-being, and vitamin D is always a happiness booster.
  5. Maintain healthy habits. The holidays are notorious for ruining your healthy habits. A simple small workout each morning will help your decision-making throughout the day. Try creating a family event of going snow shoeing or sledding to get in extra exercise. Try snacking on healthy meals to fill you up before dinner parties.
  6. Share feelings. Spending a holiday after a loss in the family can be difficult. Accept the feelings and open up about them to others. It may make you feel better to get it off your chest. Try to switch up old traditions to help ease the loss.
  7. Respect differences. We all have that one family member with a different viewpoint than our own. Try your best to forgive and forget this holiday season, and replace tension with something productive.
  8. Be realistic. You are only one person, and you can only do so much. Be realistic with how much you can handle, and use time management. Forget about perfection, and relax and enjoy the company surrounding you.
  9. Take a break. Don’t forget about your own needs. Take a nap, go for a short walk, read a book or watch a funny movie. Laughing relaxes the whole body and can relieve physical tension and stress.

Holidays are meant to be a fun and enjoyable time with friends and family. These tips can help to ensure that you truly enjoy your holidays when stress starts to set in.


Dr. Peter Reisner is a Family Medicine physician in Chetek, WI.

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