10 Simple Ways to Reduce Holiday Stress

By Carissa Garabedian, publisher of Macaroni Kid Richmond, Va. December 12, 2018

This time of year is supposed to be about joy and togetherness and peace. But for many of us, the holidays instead create stress and anxiety. 

How can you reduce the stress and bring back the fun to your holiday season?

1. Know what’s important.

Keep the focus on what matters: being with loved ones and creating memories. At the end of the day, the things that will be remembered are the moments you made. It will be the silly moments, the laughter shared, and the fun you all had that will bring back memories of this Christmas season. Whether or not the table has place cards and coordinated napkins? No one will remember and it doesn't matter!  

2. Set boundaries. 

Boundaries are our friends. I learned that in my first corporate job. You have the right to set limits and you do not have to answer questions you don’t want to. If someone crosses a line, tell them. 

3. Don't try to control everything. 

Because you can't. Know what you can control, and let the rest go. It is so freeing.

4. Don’t try to clean your whole house!

Even if you are hosting during the holidays, remember that no one is going to go into your bedroom or the kids' rooms. If they do? Refer to Number 2. 

5. Prep ahead.

Everything takes time, so do what you can in the days ahead of the holiday so you're not so frantic in the last moment. 

6. Make lists.

I write everything down. Even the fact that I need to shower. Seeing it all allows me to plan and manage my time. Plus, I love to cross things off my list!

7. Ask for help.

If you're hosting, ask for help. After all, the holidays are about spending time together — not you sweating away in the kitchen alone. Start by delegating the cooking duties.

8. Be grateful.

Find that inner moment to find gratitude and hold onto it. We all have things we can be grateful for. Write your own list in a journal each night, or involve your whole family and start a Gratitude Jar.

9. Take care of yourself.

Sleep. Exercise. Drink water. Take 15 minutes out of the day to do something you really enjoy, whether it's a short walk in the fresh air or curling up on the couch with a great book!

10. Breathe.

Look around you. Laugh with your family and friends. Enjoy them. Let them enjoy you. Just breathe.

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Carissa Garabedian is the publisher of Know Different, mother to a special needs child, and publisher of the award-winning Macaroni Kid Richmond, Va.