I love the holidays. It’s a great time to spend time with the friends and family that you love. And express gratitude for all the great things you have in your life. But despite all the love and happiness the holidays bring, there’s also so much holiday stress.
It can be really easy to get caught up in everything going on and get burnt out. Or to get so stuck on expectations that the real things falls short. Or to envy what you perceive other people are experiencing. This is all super natural and it happens to everyone. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t suck. ounavoidable. Or that it’s unavoidable.
It’s all about mindset and putting habits in place that will help you indulge in all the good and sidestep the bad. Here are my tips for saying fuck you to holiday stress and actually enjoying the season.
This works on two fronts. 1. Creative outlets are amazing as stress relievers, and 2. it might be able to help you save money on presents and helps you gift super meaningful stuff to your loved ones.
I know for me, if I’m ever stressed out, it really helps to dig my hands into something. Whether that’s coloring in a coloring book, painting yet another thing in my apartment, or doing some DIYs. So if the holiday stress is ever getting to you, let it fuel your creative energy.
Since I was little, I’ve always been a huge fan of giving homemade gifts. (I guess the DIYer in me was born at an early age.) I love being able to put some love in the things that I give to people, and I know that these gifts end up being some of the most meaningful.
And what better way to decompress from holiday stress than diving into a creative release that also helping you check off some things on your to-do list?
If you need some ideas, check out my DIY category for some do-it-yourself inspiration.
There is so much good (but bad for you) food literally everywhere you turn during the holidays. And you obviously want to, and should, indulge when you want to. Especially at holiday parties and other festivities. But usually, at the end of that month and a half stretch of eating like shit, you feel it mentally and physically.
So my tip would be to allow yourself to splurge every once and a while at special occasions, but when it comes to just making dinner for yourself, try your best to be extra healthy.
And this doesn’t have to mean boring. Quite the contrary. I love cooking during the holidays. And there’s no better time than when it’s cold and yucky outside to try out some new, healthy recipes. If you’re treating your body well on a day-to-day basis, that unhealthy comfort food will taste even better and be even more special at your holiday parties.
I’m always adding yummy (usually) healthy recipes to my Pinterest board here!
When your body is healthy, your mind is healthy. So don’t go overboard and get extra strict with yourself. But make sure you’re not ignoring your own health during this time. This includes eating healthy, some activity every day (even if it’s just walking your dog), and getting decent sleep.
don’t be afraid to say no + only spend time with those you want to
I know how guilt-inducing it can be to say no to people who invite you to things around the holidays. Especially if you’re back in your home town for the only time in the year. But other peoples’ needs are not worth your peace of mind.
If your social battery is getting drained by the 5 million things going on around the holidays, it’s okay to say no to things you don’t absolutely want to do. I’m a huge people pleaser, so I’m very familiar with just saying yes to everything because I don’t want to hurt their feelings. But realistically, if you’re burned out and stressed, you’re not going to be able to be fully there anyways.
This doesn’t mean you don’t like these people, it just means you need a little time to decompress by yourself. If you simply say, “sorry, I’ve just been really busy and would really just like to have a chill night by myself,” the people that are worth it will understand.
If you go into the holidays with this mindset, you’re setting yourself up to be poured into by the people you want to spend time around the most, rather than drained by a million different obligations.
I’ll say it again one more time for you and for myself: IT’S OKAY TO SAY NO TO PEOPLE.
organize your time in advance
This doesn’t necessarily apply to social plans, because there’s only so much to do there because of other people’s schedules. But when it comes to travel arrangements, christmas shopping, packing and wrapping, etc., creating a little checklist and putting some deadlines to it can be extremely helpful in alleviating some holiday stress.
I’m not talking a super strict timeline that is gonna stress you out even more. But maybe the last week of November or first week of December, sit down and figure out everything you need to do. If you realize you have 6 different things to do, split them up throughout the weeks before Christmas.
If you know that you get especially stressed out the week before Christmas, put a schedule in place to make sure you have all your tasks accomplished before that week. So then you can just focus on chillin.
This may just work for people like me who live and die by their planner. But I think bringing a little bit of organization during this crazy and fast-paced time could benefit anyone.
my best tip for minimizing holiday stress: practice gratitude and being present
This time applies here and for life in general. Even if things are crazy and stressful, or you’re not able to see your family, or other difficult things are going on, it’s so important to appreciate the things you do have.
Check in with yourself throughout the holidays and take the time to notice the memories you are making. And being present and mindful in all situations helps with this. Even if you have 5 million things you need to do or have a ton of stress weighing you down, don’t rob yourself of the opportunity to enjoy the moments you’re currently having.
Those stressors will still be there afterwards, and worrying about them won’t change that. So make an active effort to be fully present in every interaction or event that fills you up. You will definitely thank yourself when you’re able to look back on these memories and be grateful that you allowed yourself to really enjoy them.
Wish everyone a safe, happy, and stress free holiday season!
keep it homey, homies
Hey my name’s Hannah Michelle Lambert, the voice behind homey homies. I’m an LA-based designer, writer, and content strategist. I’m passionate about the intersection of productivity and creativity. I love talking about creative habits, technology, processes, and everything in between that helps me blend the Type A and Type B parts of my brain.