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How To Manage Holiday Stress: 5 Ways To Actually Enjoy Your Holidays This Year

You can make your holidays better, even if they usually suck for you.

Researched, written by Amber & The Team
Updated on January 8, 2024

Holiday Spirit

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For some, this word reminds of snow, cozy evenings with a cup of cocoa, gingerbread, and a perfect sparkling Christmas tree. For others, it’s a reality of gift-scavenging madness, family dramas at the table, hard-to-control overeating, and not enough energy to revisit aunt Selma.

Long gone are times when Thanksgiving and Christmas were actual family holidays.

Those snowy days with tacky holiday movies and extended plays in the snow are pretty rare for many families now.

Instead, it’s just “buy gifts – receive gifts – overeat – drink too much or watch someone drinking too much – phone time – eat again – family drama – go to sleep – wake up – repeat at someone else’s house.” And of course, many people didn’t even like those handmade cookies you carefully baked as a Christmas gift.

“She probably just didn’t want to spend actual money on my gift.”

Trust that you’re not alone if that sounds like your holiday agenda. Millions of people go through holidays in a similar rotation.

It’s pretty normal to feel stressed during holidays. Here are a few things you can do to manage holiday stress as much as possible and make your holidays better (even if they usually suck for you).


How To Manage Holiday Stress: 5 Ways To Enjoy Your Holidays


1. Decide to be happy inside


One of the simplest and most beautiful ways to manage holiday stress is to make it your own reason to be happy. If holidays are just full of stress for you, if you’re always on the run to visit your relatives and friends, buy gifts and cook food… Stop for a while.

Rethink everything, and decide that this holiday is also your holiday.

No matter what happens around you, you can think of holidays as your own perfect magical time.

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Notice all the beautiful things: snow, Christmas ornaments, candles, and gift paper.

Stop attaching the beauty of Christmas to an imagined stereotype of how holidays should “feel” or “look.”

If it’s hard to celebrate with those around you, celebrate it in your heart.

This holiday madness culture exists in our society, and you can’t hide from it, but it doesn’t mean that it should ruin the whole Christmas idea for you. Make holidays a reason for being joyful inside – just because you want to, and not because everything is “perfect” (it rarely is anyway).


2. Make lists


It’s hard not to participate in holiday traditions.

Buying Christmas gifts for boyfriend and family members, visiting them, and going to various festive activities are a part of holiday plans, but you can also make it all easier.

To manage holiday stress successfully, make lists!

Write down gift ideas before you go shopping.

Plan Christmas recipes a few days in advance.

You can even make a list of things you’re planning to wear. Having a few helpful lists will take a massive load off your mind and help you manage holiday stress like a boss.


3. Take breaks!


All this running, communicating, and eating can sap the energy out of you in no time.

To ensure you don’t end up exhausted after holidays, allow yourself to take breaks.

The more, the merrier!

Self-care time, relaxation, meditation, and any other activity that helps you to calm down will be beneficial at this time.

Again, refer to tip number 1 and remind yourself that holidays are NOT for pleasing others and making sure everyone is happy with their gifts, food, and time.

It’s also your holiday, and you have a full right to spend a part of it relaxing and taking care of yourself as well.

Picture Portraying How To Manage Holiday Stress: 5 Ways To Actually Enjoy Your Holidays This Year

4. Actually forgive people


This one is for those who have to deal with a never-ending family drama at the holiday table, which can be very exhausting.

When a lot of people with different opinions gather in one place… It’s safe to say that drama is expected.

If you want to manage holiday stress better, try to forgive people. If they are talking nonsense or try to bring you down – ignore it and remind yourself that many different things can influence people’s opinions. Hard life, disappointments, expectations, character traits, and beliefs can all make people say or do something they do.

However, you don’t have to agree with it, nor do you need to make a conflict about it.

To safely manage holiday stress, try to forgive those who wrong you. Letting go of negative energy is a sure way to help you go through the holidays with less stress. And if you feel like you are made to go through too much, evaluate if your holiday time is worth spending with such people.

Maybe there are better ways to spend your precious holiday time.


5. How to manage holiday stress if nothing else helps?


Try not to make a big deal of holidays overall and remember that it’s temporary.

When you think well, it’s just a few days.

They will pass, and you will be back to normal again.

Your holidays might not be pleasant, but after they’re gone, they’re gone.

Life moves on.

Try to stay open-minded and do not expect the worst as well.

Maybe this year it will all be different?

You never know!


You can learn to manage holiday stress better.


Remember that you can’t control everything and everyone around you.

Yet, you can always choose what you want to let inside you and what is worth your time, attention, and love (hint – YOU ARE).

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