How to Stay Afloat in a Sea of Stress During the Holidays…


Whether you are hosting the holidays, traveling to a loved one’s house, or are in charge of bringing the dessert, there seems to be one constant theme that generally comes with the holidays — stress. Let’s face it, when everyone gets together, there is not always endless holiday cheer being spread around. Whether it’s family, finances, time, work, etc. — there is an environment being created where stress thrives.


Stress may be ever present, but it does not need to dominate. The first thing to think about is how you deal with stress when it arises. Are you one to take a spoon, the ice cream container, and sink into the couch to get lost in a season of Orange is the New Black on Netflix? Or do you bottle all of your frustration, irritation, and utter dismay for how your Uncle Buck turns every family get-together into a drama-filled debacle, until the pressure presents itself as illness? Maybe wine becomes your mode of relief from all of it? People deal with stress in many different ways, and perhaps different stressors call for different measures of dealing.


Your method for dealing with stress may help you get through it, which in the moment is great, but is it at the expense of your health and wellbeing?


Here are a few ways to deal with stress that will help you not only get through it, but do so in a way that is actually to the greater good and benefit of your wellbeing:


    • Breathe. I know, it seems so trite, but deep belly breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth for a series of breaths is legitimately calming.
    • Take a walk, run, hike, bike, yoga, etc. You get the idea — move your body. Physical activity sends a signal to your brain, releasing endorphins, which lowers the stress hormone cortisol and increases your feel good factor.
    • Plan ahead. If you know you will be triggered by family, work obligations, financial strain of the holidays, then start planning now for how you will deal with these stressors. Planning gives you a “leg up,” empowering you to take corrective measures now to either avoid and/or better manage stress when it arises.
    • Phone a friend. Seriously, use your lifeline and call for back-up. Sometimes, simply having a place to vent is all you really need, and besides connection with others minimizes stress in a big way.
    • Ask for help, allow it, and let go. Much like phoning a friend, asking for help takes a lot of pressure off of you. So what if the dessert isn’t prepared exactly how you would have done it? Maybe your energy is better focused elsewhere and by letting go of how you think it should be allows for you to relieve your stress.

When you are seeking comfort from stress in food, alcohol, or avoidance, it is not okay to choose those as a means to numb yourself from what is really happening. Numbing, brushing aside, bottling does not make it go away, and it only makes it fester, creating more problems than it does solutions. Also, finding comfort in this way shouldn’t be your first go-to method and it should be kept to a minimum, meaning don’t eat the entire container of ice cream or drink the whole bottle of wine, because that will leave you feeling worse than simply dealing with the stress itself. Stress coupled with feeling bad is a recipe for further stress, which will lead to illness and it’s a hamster wheel of hell that will leave you spinning in despair.

A final note on dealing with stress in the form of gratitude. Now before you give me the finger for this one, hear me out. This one is not while you are in the middle of your stressful moment, but for afterwards. Choose to be open, to see it differently, from an outside perspective, and be willing to get curious about it. When you are open to learning from your challenges and be grateful for what they are meant to teach you, then you’ll have an abundance of peace, love, and joy in an otherwise stressful time.

Stress will not sink you if you follow these tips to stay afloat. You got this. Here’s to peace, love, joy, and floating through the holidays. Happy Holidays!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This