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Avoiding and Minimizing Holiday Stress

Posted Nov 21, 2018

Shopping! Dinners! Family! The holiday season is finally here, and while for many this brings joy, rejuvenation, and celebration, it can also lead to a perfect storm of stress. Whether it’s finding the perfect gift for a loved one or relative, single-handedly putting together an amazing meal for multiple guests, or planning activities for your entire family, it’s easy to find yourself up to your neck in stress. Today we’ll look at different ways to downsize and eliminate the stress that comes with the season.


For many people, holiday shopping can be the biggest headache of the year, and there are plenty of reasons to understand why. Stores are crowded, parking is tight, and not everyone is full of holiday cheer. Plus, it’s easy to lose track of finances considering the hectic nature that comes along with holiday shopping. To help combat this, make a list and set a budget for each gift before you go out shopping and do your best to stick to it. Do research online and see where the best deals are before going out. The experience can be a lot less stressful if you have a plan of attack and you know you aren’t spending more than you should.

Stores can have limited stock of popular items, not to mention the long lines at checkout. Consider shopping online for things that may be hard to find in stores. You may find better deals as well. The earlier you start looking, the better your odds. Waiting until the last week (or even day) can be highly stressful. Not sure what certain friends or relatives would want? Don’t spend hours in stores searching and speculating. Ask them what they would want, or have them make a short list of options.


While creating a superb meal might be high on your list of holiday priorities, there’s no reason to take on all the responsibility. Asking others to bring their favorite dishes is a great way of taking some of the pressure off yourself, as well as bringing a variety of different dishes and traditions to the table. If you’re worried you won’t be able to stay on schedule the day of the meal, consider cooking and freezing meals ahead of time. When feeling overwhelmed in the kitchen, don’t hesitate to ask friends and family for additional help. There’s often tasks even the kids can handle.


While running around visiting family can be demanding, there’s no reason you need to burden yourself with additional stress. Be sure to tell family members about your commitments; you may find that you already have conflicting plans, which means you can plan to visit sometime soon after the holidays. Don’t be afraid to say no. If you’ve already maximized your time, make plans to do something in the future.

It’s common to overschedule considering the tumultuous nature of the holiday season, but it’s also important to set aside time for yourself to relax and recover. Try to take time in between gatherings to decompress if necessary. Don’t be afraid to reserve at least a day for yourself and immediate family. Once all the excitement is over, take a couple of days for yourself to relax, recover, and recharge.


Overeating and over-consumption of refined, sugary, fatty, or caffeinated foods and alcohol (all plentiful this time of year) can wreak all sorts of havoc on your body. In addition to causing weight gain, these unhealthy foods can also cause low energy levels, increased irritability, and sleep interference. They can also promote inflammation and hamper immune function, which is one of the last thing you need during this stressful time of year.

Overindulging in alcohol is also a common theme around the holidays. It’s often readily available, and extra stress can make it easy to justify going overboard. While it may seem like it’s reducing your stress, it’s important to remember that alcohol is not only a depressant, but also a naked carbohydrate in an extremely refined form.

This means that it while it temporarily compensates for signs of adrenal fatigue, once the alcohol has worn off, your hypoadrenia will be worse than when you started. If you are going to consume alcohol, be sure to do it in small quantities, and always on a full stomach.

While previous holidays may have been trying, there isn’t any reason they have to be now and moving forward. Learning where and when to cut stressors out of your life could be an integral part of being able to enjoy friends, family, and everything that comes with this time of the season a little more.


“Stress: Managing Holiday Stress.” Cleveland Clinic. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/4388-stress-managing-holiday-stress