Stress Management Techniques for the Holidays

by | Dec 19, 2023 | Life

There are so many holidays to celebrate in December, such as Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa. These celebrations often lead to more shopping, decorating, cooking, planning, scheduling and hosting, but often, people feel overextended by so many tasks to complete, which can steal joy and the meaning of this time of year. This is why it’s important to prioritize self care routines, as they can help in managing the holiday stress.


Below are 8 effective tools to help manage stress around the holidays. These techniques will help you to find more ME time this holiday season so you can enjoy the holidays fully!


Practicing gratitude helps to shift your focus from stress to appreciation. Amid the holiday chaos take some time to jot down 3-5 things you are grateful for in your life. Try writing in a gratitude journal at the start and end of the day. This will help you to start your day on a positive note and end your day in a calm reflective state as you think about all the positive things that took place throughout the day.


Unrealistic expectations can be a result of spending too much time on social media. Your Instagram feed might be urging you to hold yourself to an idealistic version of the holidays. Aim to do a digital detox over the holidays so you can hold onto the present moment and the joyful experiences happening around you. By acknowledging those around you it can help to reset your mood to a more uplifting one during a typically hectic time.


Periods of stress take your body in “fight or flight” mode, which increases your heartbeat and gives way to fast, shallow breathing patterns. Breathing exercises are a convenient stress management technique which can be practiced without requiring any additional equipment. Concentrating on each breath increases the oxygen exchange, reduces blood pressure, slows the heart and releases any tension. These physical changes later bring positive changes in your mental state by keeping you in a state of mindfulness. 


December is the month of a lot of Christmas parties, work and family commitments. Some people can manage many activities, but most of us need more balance. Don’t be afraid to politely decline some invitations or postpone them for next month when you have more time and energy. Don’t be afraid to say “NO” to indulgences that you know will make you feel bad, too, like savory pies, eggnog, pigs in a blanket, or mulled wine. Enjoy a little bit of everything but don’t overdo it.


If your to-do list is a mile long, cut down on certain things or delegate a few jobs to other people. Let your husband, wife, or loved one help you wrap presents or baby-sit while you focus on other tasks. Be vocal if you need help, and don’t leave it up to others to read your mind. Clear communication will give your loved ones an opportunity to tackle what needs to be done in a collaborative and constructive manner. The holiday season is not only the time to please everyone, but the time to relax and recharge your batteries.


The celebrations during the holiday season should not add to your financial burden. So, budgeting is super important.

  • Keep track of your daily and weekly expenditures by keeping your receipts and checking your bank transactions at the end of the day.
  • Spend within your limits. Opt to make hand-made gifts or put small things together to build a gift basket for someone.
  • Don’t get illured by attractive marketing schemes.
  • Regift unused gift cards for your family and friends.

Breathing in fresh air and spending time in the park is so good for you. It improves your mood, reduces feelings of anger and enhances your confidence. There are a lot of ways to find time for nature, too!

  • Go outside and feel the sunlight on your face
  • Walk outside for approximately 30-60 minutes
  • Take a minute to hear the sound of trees and wind
  • Go pick some  flowers and make a bouquet 
  • Listen to the birds chirp
  • Keep your doors and windows open for some fresh air

Eating too many oily foods and sugary sweets during the holiday season can hamper your skin and health immensely. That’s why it’s important to:

  • Stay hydrated and drink the appropriate amount of water content
  • Cleanse your skin properly every morning and night
  • Keep your skin moisturized
  • Eat healthy, opt for fruits and vegetables

Having a list of stress management techniques to implement during the busy holiday season is super important so that you don’t miss cherished memories of loved ones together, shared meals, and joyful gatherings. Keep this list on hand and return to it as often as you need so you can be sure to have a balanced holiday season and tackle any unwanted holiday stress. 

Download the JOYSCORE app to learn more about how to enjoy a healthy mind and body.

Download on the Appstore

Get it on Google Play

Dr. Bob Singhal

Professor Bhupendra 'Bob' Singhal, has taught creativity by joy and right-brain thinking, is a renowned international architect, won major design competitions, has over 70 awards, publications, and media mentions, and served as President of the American Institute of Architects South Bay. In 2011, in his book Joy in Health and Happiness: Your Optimal Path to Success, Professor Singhal wrote about the transformative power of joy and helped readers learn to enhance their daily experience of it.


Download JoyScore App