5 Ways to Reduce Holiday Stress

by | Updated: December 9th, 2019 | Read time: 2 minutes

Shopping, baking, decorating, celebrating””what fun are they when you’re rushed, tired and overwhelmed? The holidays are supposed to be happy and joyful, but many people dread this time of year when high expectations drive them into a tailspin of exhaustion and anxiety.

Keeping stress in check is key to having a happy, healthy holiday season. While you may think this is easier said than done, there are several simple steps you can take to keep your cool and take better care of yourself this time of year.

  • Start by being realistic. If you head into the holidays with grand visions of a perfectly decorated home, never-ending platters of homemade cookies and extravagant gifts for everyone on your list, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. Choose one or two rituals that are important to you and put your full effort into them. Try to let go of visions of perfection and instead enjoy the people you’re with.
  • Set limits for yourself, and stick to them. This means saying “no” when asked to do something you know will be difficult for you. It also means drawing a line when it comes to spending. Create a simple budget and don’t go over the amount you’ve designated for gifts, decorations or events.
  • Make an effort to stay healthy. Overeating is often a coping mechanism for holiday stress, and it can have a rebound effect, causing more stress after you’ve indulged. Be sure to eat three balanced meals every day, drink plenty of water and try to eat a light snack before going to parties.
  • Exercise regularly. Both the American Council on Exercise and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Association endorse exercise as an effective way to reduce stress. Aim for 15 to 30 minutes of brisk walking or other activity that elevates your heart rate, three to four times per week.
  • Try a supplement with B-complex vitamins or magnesium. B-complex vitamins may support healthy nervous system function and energy production. They’re also believed to play a role in stress management. Magnesium, which also plays a part in nerve and muscle function and energy production, may additionally support the body’s normal response to stress.