What Holiday Stress? Managing Holiday Stress made Easy! Tips and Tricks in 2019!

How can we describe the holidays?...

Joyful, filled with great family time, amazing food, yummy desserts, games, booze, bright lights, hot coffee. Its that time of year when let's face it, everyone just seems happier, right?

Well let's be real, the holidays can also be one of the most stressful times of the year. Between the holiday shopping, crowds, loud noises, hanging the Christmas lights in 20 degree weather, to the elaborate dinners, trying to make sure everyone is happy and having fun, conversations with the in-laws you haven't seen in a year, all make things more challenging. So let's make things easier shall we.

Here are the top 9 ways to beat Holiday Stress:

  • Exercise: Don't neglect your endorphins. I know this is an elective activity that can take even more time up, and let's face it, during the holidays it's easy for it to go by the wayside. However, stay strong and try and get some sort of physical activity in daily, or even a few times a week. A brisk walk, a session of aerobic exercise, even a 30 minute fast paced weight bearing exercise. It doesn't have to be long, but get that blood pumping. By now, we all know the effects and benefits of exercising, but improving mood and dealing with stress is really what we are going for here, and exercise is a great start. Not only that, exercise can also improve sleep as well. This is overall, a great way of managing holiday stress.

  • A Big Squeeze: So what do I mean by this? We discussed in a prior post about investing in a inexpensive stress ball. Well another benefit from doing this motion with your hands is stimulating the Hoku spot. The Hoku spot is the fleshy spot between your thumb and index finger, (look here).  This is a spot used in acupressure. So in times of acute stress, try this technique to relieve some pressure and tension. It's also used to get relief from headaches, neck pains and even toothaches. Maybe for you, it's an acute way to beat holiday stress in a pinch!


  • Keep Yourself in Mind: Yes it's true, we all go above and beyond to try and please others during this time. But how about giving yourself a pat on the back and taking a breather for yourself. How about reflecting on all the great things you've done over the past year. Take some time to yourself during the holidays and make this a point of emphasis.

  • Reflection: So similarly to the above point. This is dedicated to you and no one else. Destress at the holidays and deal with holiday stress, by reflecting. Reflect about the good and the hard times that you have experienced during the year. Everyone, every year, goes through these moments. For instance, this year for me I changed specialties in the hospital and chose a less stressful department to work in after years in the ICU. I needed a break and that's okay. So this was a great thing for me. A not so great reflection was my son needing extensive dental work, it crushed me to see him go through this (even though he was a rock-star!). Tip: this doesn't have to be done by yourself, how about inviting a friend over and having a glass of wine, and discussing each of your years in it's entirety, (talk about a vent session, right!). Find out some other great benefits of reflection here.

  • Routines: These are so important. The holidays can through routines off in a huge way. Obviously if you have been doing something for a long time, a specific way, this is going to cause you added stress if you have to change this routine. So my advice is where you can, keep routines the same. Things are going to be somewhat different, especially if you are hosting families or your family/friends are in from out of town, but try hard to keep some level of consistency.

  • Laugh: Part of the holidays is about enjoying the people around you. Whether you're hosting the gathering or traveling to another home, take time to enjoy the company. Did you know laughter causes body-wide relaxation, it can boost your immune system and even burn calories (sweet!).

  • Take a Ride: I know this one sounds weird and no you shouldn't do it right before you sit down to eat a holiday meal or open gifts. However, what about asking the parents to watch the kids for little (if you have them), get out of the house and drive. I only bring up this point because I know myself in times of high stress, love to listen to music and just drive. I don't even care where I am going, a half hour one way and then a half hour back. I either listen to music or sit in silence and talk to myself about my life. I truly do feel rejuvenated after returning, and it gives me almost a sense of a new start to the day.

  • Be Creative: Okay, so we are living on the edge with this one. When I say be creative, I mean try something new. Ditch the old traditions and habits and try a new holiday custom. Now for some, maybe this adds unwanted stress, but for you creative souls out there, try this. Have fun with this, include others in your "new way". You just may start your own new tradition.

  • Lastly, Buy Yourself Something! Are you kidding me, all the money and time you take buying gifts for others, marking things off your lists for you parents, brother, sisters, nieces, nephews, uncles, aunts and grandparents, buy something for yourself. Turn some holiday stress, into holiday relaxation. This is definitely a tactic for dealing with managing holiday stress. Buy something you've wanted for a long time, or purchase something that actually helps you relax. Focus on you, for just a second. Wait until everyone's gone and enjoy that last present under the tree for yourself!
Thanks for reading, and from our family to yours, stay safe this holiday season, happy holidays, and best wishes from RNtoZen.com!


Benefits of Exercise. (2019, October 4). Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/benefitsofexercise.html.

Fraga, J. (n.d.). Here’s How Self-Reflection Can Strengthen Your Emotional Intelligence. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/time-for-some-self-reflection#1.

UCLA Center for East-West Medicine. (n.d.). Acupressure Point LI4: Large Intestine 6 or He Gu. Retrieved from https://exploreim.ucla.edu/self-care/acupressure-point-li4/.

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