Fifty Ways to Relieve Holiday Stress

Eileen Bailey Health Guide
  • For many, Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holiday season...and the holiday stress. This time of year worries seem to abound. We worry about money, about finding the right gift, about attending holiday functions, gaining weight or about being alone. Even though this is supposed to be the season of joy, it doesn't always turn out that way, over expectations or seasonal depression can get in the way of enjoying the holidays.


    Below are fifty quick tips on beating holiday stress:


    1)      Get a massage, today many places offer 10 minute massages.

    2)      Talk to a friend about how you are feeling, both good and bad, to help you understand and vent your emotions.

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    3)      Stay home at least one evening a week to re-energize.

    4)      Attend parties you want to and say "no" to those you don't want to attend. For those you feel obligated to attend, show up for a short amount of time and then excuse yourself.

    5)      Take a hot bubble bath.

    6)      Make sure you go to bed on time, sleep is so important this time of year.

    7)      Volunteer at a local shelter or food bank

    8)      Stop for a cup of steaming hot chocolate.

    9)      Bring a book, crossword puzzle book or suduku puzzle book with you to relieve stress.

    10)  Watch your favorite holiday movie.

    11)  Bake cookies and give away to friends or neighbors.

    12)  Say "I love you" or "Thank you" to someone you care about.

    13)  Send a letter, holiday card or care package to our soldiers deployed overseas (

    14)  Listen to your favorite music.

    15)  Meditate.

    16)  Read a book.

    17)  Forgive someone.

    18)  Do a holiday activity with your children.

    19)  Create a "new" family tradition.

    20)  Stick to your regular routine as much as possible.

    21)  Make a holiday shopping budget (and stick to it).

    22)  Reduce shopping, buy gift cards.

    23)  Use lists to make your life easier.

    24)  Delegate chores whenever possible.

    25)  Continue to take your medication during the holidays.

    26)  Limit the amount of alcohol you consume.

    27)  Spend a day making extra meals you can freeze for nights you don't have time to cook.

    28)  Reach out to someone you haven't talked to in awhile.

    29)  Make your holiday dinner "pot-luck" to simplify what you need to accomplish.

    30)  Avoid impulse shopping; make a list before you head to the mall.

    31)  Visit a museum.

    32)  Keep lavender with you, the smell of it can help you relax.

    33)  Keep a diary or journal to help vent emotions.

    34)  Take a drive in the country. Stop for hot chocolate.

    35)  Laugh.

    36)  Review your expectations of the holiday season.

    37)  Start an exercise program (talk with your doctor first).

    38)  Take a walk.

    39)  Stop eating once you become full.

    40)  Reduce or eliminate caffeine.

    41)  Drink extra water.

    42)  Treat yourself to a manicure.

    43)  Don't sweat the small stuff (and remember, everything is the small stuff).

    44)  Volunteer to visit those that are homebound. Bring homemade cookies or holiday treats.

  • 45)  Do something you enjoy doing.

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    46)  Limit worrying to a "worry hour" in the evening, then let worries go.

    47)  Remember your deep breathing exercises.

    48)  Follow family traditions, even if you are not with your family to help you feel more connected.

    49)  Go to a movie by yourself.

    50)  Keep peace, compassion, understanding and forgiveness in your perspective.


    No matter what you choose to do this holiday season, it is so important to take care of yourself and create traditions based on your beliefs. The best way to relieve holiday stress is to surround yourself with loved ones, those that accept you without judgment.




Published On: November 23, 2009