4 Tips to Manage Holiday Stress

The Holidays don’t have to stress you out! Here are four simple tips you can start applying right now. These tips will help you rein in some of the stress and craziness of the Holidays, so you can appreciate the joy of the season.

Stressed woman during the holidays

1. Easy stress-buster: Breathe. Did your crazy cousin say something that set you off? Stop and take a couple of deep breaths through your nose and into your abdomen, and breathe out slowly. This is something you can do while shopping in crowds, before the office holiday party, or when you feel like you want to scream at that crazy cousin.

Mindful breathing does make a difference. It keeps your Lungs strong, alters brain chemistry and reminds your body that it doesn’t need to be in fight or flight mode. Regular mindful breathing will leave more energy for things like healthy digestion and protecting your immune system. And sometimes we all just need a minute!

2. Avoid holiday feast overload by snacking frequently. This may sound a little counter-intuitive, but it works. When you’re getting ready to attend a holiday feast, DO NOT skimp on early meals and snacks because you know you are having a big meal later on. That is not helpful for your body, your energy, your emotional state, or your metabolism.

Eat a healthy breakfast early and then follow up with small snacks every 2-3 hours. I’m not talking about cookies here… you’ll want to choose snacks that include protein, like nuts, cheese, or quinoa. Eating plenty early in the day helps keep energy, brain function, and cortisol levels high when they need to be, and this also helps minimize that late afternoon energy crash and the late afternoon or nighttime snacking habits, as well as the holiday party “free for all” eating binges.

3. Keep your immune system strong! It’s that time of year when everywhere you turn someone is sick. I’m still hearing from folks with COVID, respiratory viruses and the common cold. Don’t let illness ruin your holiday plans! It’s important to remember the basics. Hand washing is still the number one way to help prevent the spread of germs. Rest also makes our immune systems strong and sugar makes our immune systems weaker. In between your holiday treats, load up on things like homemade soup, extra veggies, and whole grains and force yourself to get to bed at a reasonable hour. Incidentally, all of those things (except maybe hand washing) help to balance our moods as well.

4. Simplify. Try to stop and take a few minutes to remember what this season is truly about for you, it can help you prioritize how you should really be spending your time, energy, and money. Don’t let this time of year make you stressed and unhappy! Cross 2-3 things off your list. Whether it’s scrubbing the kitchen floor before your in-laws come or running out for those extra stocking stuffers , find at least two things that you can cross off that will make your life simpler over the Holidays.

I hope your Holidays are happy and stress free!