6 Tips on How to Manage Holiday Stress

by Deborah Haddix

It’s that time of year. Okay, truth be told, I don’ think the time of year makes any difference. Seems we all face major stress every day, all year long.

But this time of year, all the shopping, planning, cooking, baking, parties, programs, and other holiday “joys” do tend to magnify our stress and anxiety.

We enter the season with grand hopes of treasuring the season and enjoying the festivity. Then, BAMM!

So, what can we do?


I’ve come to be a huge believer in the power of intentionality.

Those things that are important to us – marriage, parenting, grandparenting, living a life centered on Christ, our health – must be approached with great intentionality.

This Christmas season, the treasuring, the festivity, our mental and physical health must be approached with great intentionality.

Healthy Ideas for Handling Holiday Stress

  1. Exercise

There is strong scientific evidence as to the benefits of exercise in managing stress. I know you don’t think you have the time, but its benefits are HUGE and so worth it!

The good news is that practically any form of exercise can relieve stress. So, find something you enjoy – walking, bicycling, running, swimming, tennis – and spend a few minutes keeping that Christmas stress at bay! (I’ve read that for stress relief 30 minutes a day, 6 days a week is ideal.)

2. Relax

I know. I know. Who has time to relax?

But did you know when the body and the mind are relaxed at the same time, it is impossible for us to continue to be stressed? Like light and dark, the two cannot reside in the same place.

Pull away from your shopping frenzy to enjoy 15 minutes at your favorite local shop or bookstore. Enjoy an evening bubble bath. Warm yourself by a fire. Take a nap.

Difficult to believe, but our bodies can be taught to relax. All it takes is some “intentionality.”

3. Feed Your Soul

Biblical meditation is the most effective way to treat anxiety.

This Christmas season schedule in some time to meditate on Scripture. Spend some time filling your mind with God’s Word by reading it, writing it out by hand, memorizing it, singing it, praying it.

4. Fuel Your Body Wisely

Yes, there will be parties, cookies, and Christmas treats. Go ahead. Enjoy a little something now and again (unless there’s a medical diagnosis that keeps you from it).

But by all means, for the sake of your stress levels (and your weight), keep your indulgences to a minimum. Rather than continual binging on sweets and carbs, begin your day with a healthy breakfast and make choices that include lots of vegetables and other healthy options.

5. Sleep

We were created for sleep. In fact, all of creation sleeps.

During the holidays especially, establish a sleep routine that includes a consistent bedtime and 8-9 hours of sleep.

6. Connect With Others

Loneliness increases stress levels.

This Christmas season live in connection. Volunteer at a local ministry or charity. Interact and share with others in ways that are meaningful.

“Staying connected is a balm for your heart, your stress level, and your health.”

U.S. News & World Report, February, 2009.

I don’t know about you, but this year I plan to set myself up to enjoy the season and my good health by making intentional choices that will help to manage the stress that can so easily deplete me.

Questions for Managing Holiday Stress

  • Where will you schedule in some exercise and relaxation?
  • How will you be sure to feed your soul and get your required amount of sleep?
  • What will be your eating plan?
  • When and in what way will you live in connection to others?

www.deborahhaddix.com. Used by permission.


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