How to Handle Holiday Stress

    The holidays are supposed to be our happiest time of the year, right? How come so many find it to be the most stressful and anxious, if not depressing time? Maybe it’s our expectations and how we think about this time of year that makes it that way. In this post, we’ll look at two things you can do to handle holiday stress.

    I have several clients who are psychotherapists and they tell me that their schedules fill up this time of year. What is it about the holidays that create so much overwhelm? First, I think it has a lot to do with our expectations about what we think we should be doing. We may feel pressured to attend every holiday event we’re invited to, while still attending to our work, and meeting family expectations of what the holidays should be like.

    So, a first thing to do to keep our mental health is to step back and prioritize what is actually important versus what we feel pressured to do. Ask yourself what the holidays really mean for you or what you would like them to mean and how you can best keep to that spirit. Then, give yourself permission to let go of what doesn’t fit with that. For example, perhaps not every party is essential. Maybe good thoughts, well wishes, and kind words and actions are more important than piles of presents. Perhaps time with those you love takes precedence over work.

    Ask yourself what is your top priority and attend to that above less essential things. When you step back, reflect, assess, and prioritize, you’ll gain a little mental space to let go of unrealistic or inauthentic expectations. You’ll be more able to say, “This is what is most important to me and this is what I am doing to take care of that.”

    A second thing that often happens at this time of year is that we let go of our usual self-care practices, such as eating well, exercising, meditating, taking quiet time, and so on. At a time when you need these routines the most, you may put them off and let them go. You might say, “I’ll get back to that after the New Year.”

    I encourage you to make a special effort to stay with your self-care through the holidays. You may abbreviate or modify your routines, but don’t let them go altogether. Eating well, exercising, meditating, and taking a little quiet time will go a long way toward helping you handle holiday stress and be at your best. Instead of waiting for a New Year’s Resolution, make a Holiday Resolution. Have a self-care plan that includes what you’ll eat and won’t eat, when you’ll exercise, and how you’ll take a little time to relax, unwind, and stay connected to your Core, those you love, and your Source.

    After all, isn’t the heart of our holidays about honoring and prioritizing those essential connections?

    Whatever you’d like the holidays to mean for you, make that a top priority this holiday season.



    Kevin Schoeninger

    P.S. Click here for a great technique to help you let go of stress and return to your Core.

      One Response to “How to Handle Holiday Stress”

      1. afia says:

        Kevin you are so right.
        , this happens to me all the time. i thing if one is in the habit of examining oneself one automatically makes corrections. What a sense of freedom it brings. I used to be an introvert as well I would let others do all the talking, there came a time when I realised that the reason I had nothing to say was that I do not like to gossip and that is what people did most times. I decided that I was going to speak up and help people get in touch with their inner selves so that a meaningful dialogue ensued.
        Nowadays I feel as though I know nothing and that is not a bad thing at all, Iam ready to learn new lessons. Does that make sense?

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