Christmas Tree and Family

Stress Busters for More Holiday Cheer


The holiday season is supposed to be full of fun and joy. However, sometimes that’s just not the case. All that fun often leads to packed schedules and neverending to-do lists.

If you are overwhelmed, experiencing anxiety or racing thoughts, then you’re not likely to have much fun during the holidays. Don’t let holiday stress steal your holiday cheer!

When consumed with to-do lists and trying to live up to expectations, you end up spending a great deal of time and energy worrying and overthinking. This steals away our opportunity to simply absorb the joy in being present.

Perhaps this season can be different.

5 Ways to Reduce Holiday Stress

  1. Do a Brain Dump: One of the biggest anxiety producers is having too much on your mind. All those thoughts, ideas, and lists take up a lot of storage space in your brain. Time to get it off your mind and onto paper. Get a piece of paper and a pen, set a timer for 10 minutes, and jot down all the thoughts running amuck in your mind. Don’t evaluate or judge; just unload.
  2. Prioritize: After the brain dump, what is on the paper will probably seem less daunting. Now is your chance to organize what is most important, eliminate the unnecessary, consider who you can delegate to, and think on what can wait until next month.  Remember that not everything needs to be done by you, and everything cannot be urgent.
  3. Stop: Stop hurrying and hustling. Stop engaging in events that rob you of peace and joy. Instead, pause to enjoy the moment. Choose activities that soothe your senses. Sit by the fire or beautifully lit tree. Watch the flames dance or the lights twinkle. Let the light and warmth flood your heart and soul. Or, how about bundling up for an evening walk under a clear night sky? Feel the winter cold on your face as you marvel at the vast universe above.
  4. Focus on the Exhale: Deep breathing is the easiest way to quickly calm nerves and return to the present moment. After taking a long, deep inhale, focus on letting the exhale leave your body. Exhaling is tied to the para-sympathetic system, which is the body’s ability to relax. When anxiety is high, take two minutes to breathe deeply with a focus on the exhale.
  5. Move: A bout of exercise always does the brain and body good. Stress in the form of moodiness, anxiety, and tight muscles gets trapped in the body. Movement is the key to get the stress out. Take a walk, stretch, dance, … any enjoyable activity. In as little as 10 minutes, you will feel a sense of wellbeing wash over your body and mind.

These simple actions are easy to do and will help you reclaim a joyful holiday season.


Information presented by W(h)ealth should not be relied upon to determine diet, make a medical diagnosis, or determine treatment for a medical condition. The information is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. Consult a doctor and/or medical professional before making any health changes, especially any changes related to a specific diagnosis or condition.