Happy Non-Denominational Holidays: Say 'no' to holiday stress!

So it's less than one month left until Christmas – how do you manage the woes of holiday stress during the hectic holiday period?


Holiday stress is as it is literally called: stress resulting from the anxieties of the holiday season and an upcoming holiday. Christmas, Easter, preparing to go away on an epic holiday (which ends up compounding your stress levels) – these are all common triggers for ‘holiday stress’.


In addition to avoiding shopping centres over the Christmas and New Year period (Boxing Day sales, anyone?), holiday stress can be managed through sensible self-care and perspective taking.

Don't Overcommit Yourself:
Space out social events and if you can’t go to every event, that’s okay. Prioritise. You can’t make everyone happy – you can only be responsible for your own happiness and well-being.

Be Realistic:
Don’t place unnecessary expectations on yourself about what you can achieve by the 31st of December. There will be another year at work to get those projects going. There will be another year to work to reach your personal goals – so be kind to yourself.

Avoid The Crowds:
I am not one for crowded shopping centres. If you have the luxury of time (or are an incredibly organised type A) – shop online. Shop in advance – take advantage of earlier sales during the year (including those mid-year toy sales for little people) – lay-by and pick up later to save storage space and reduce the risk of gift recipients finding their presents at home.

Book in self-care (aka introvert time). Take time out for yourself – if possible – to be on your own. The holiday season is social enough – so get some r&r. Book a massage in during the Christmas period.

Spend Quality Time With Your Loved Ones:
Much of the point of the holiday season is to spend time with the people nearest and dearest to you. How can you find a relaxing way of enjoying the company of the people you love? Gatherings are always somewhat stressful (cooking, catering, ensuring no one misses out on gifts) – perhaps there are ways to simplify expectations and reduce the burden of food and presents. Could you sans presents for one year? Donate to a charity instead? Perhaps hire out an airbnb somewhere new to make a holiday out of family functions?

Fly Away/Drive away:
Now I’m not in any way promoting avoidant problem solving strategies – but, if you can, book a trip abroad and escape from the chaos of the holiday season! There are two sides to this coin: FOMO (the fear of missing out on social and many festive events back home), but also the chance to avoid the stressors that can come with the holiday period.

Make sure you take a break from work:
For those who are self-employed or who run their own business or are general workaholics – ensure that you stop working over the holiday season. Block out ‘no work’ days in your calendar and set your email out-of-office on. Resist temptation to work or worry that you need to check your email and respond. Unless there is something incredibly urgent – most things and people can wait. A break is essential for a refreshed start to the new year, so begin the year with healthy habits, healthy boundaries and healthy self-care.

Original article published on This Woman Can.