How To: Lower Holiday Stress

It’s supposed to be the season of joy, but for many of us it can feel stressful, overwhelming and anxiety inducing.

It’s a time of year that is full of to-dos, last-minute work deadlines, silly season social events, gift buying, and expectations of perfect family get togethers.

If the holiday season has you feeling stressed, here are some steps you can take to lower that overwhelm...

Common causes of holiday stress: 

The most common holiday-stress culprits are:

    1. Finances 
    2. Family Tension 
    3. Loneliness 
    4. Overwhelm 

So what can we do within each of these areas to lower our stress levels?


1. Finances

The holidays are an expensive time for many families – and financial stress is very real.

Identify what is causing financial stress

Is it expensive gifts or social gatherings? Plan ways you can reduce your spending in these areas (e.g. organise a Secret Santa to cut down the number of gifts you have to buy).


Set a budget

This is a good way to prevent overspending. Pre-plan what gifts and food you want to buy, look at the overall costs of these and if it is over your set budget, look at ways you might be able to cut down on spending.


Find some lower cost ways to have fun

Maybe instead of restaurant dinners you could organise a picnic in the park or a potluck.


2. Family Tension

Unfortunately family dramas don’t magically disappear when it’s the holidays, and all families experience a level of tension from time to time. 


Set realistic expectations


The reality is that just because it’s the festive season, our complex family dynamics don’t just go away. 


Divide the workload

If you are having a big get together at your home, it can be stressful enough getting your house ready let alone doing all the cooking as well. Create a menu in advance and give each of your family members a different dish to cook and bring along.


Avoid known triggers

Think about your boundaries or if your family have a history of disagreeing over certain topics.


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3. Loneliness:

If you are on your own or separated from loved ones these holidays - it can feel lonely. Especially when your social media is usually full of people sharing pictures of various social events.


Connect with friends and family

Even if you are separated by distance you can catch up via a facetime or call with loved ones.


Attend community events

You could look at volunteering, going along to festive markets or even heading to the beach.


Make plans for Christmas day

Make a plan in advance to give yourself something to look forward to. Maybe it’s a special breakfast, an epic present to enjoy on the day or even a holiday away.

Extra tip: Remember that Christmas is just another day, it doesn’t have to be ‘perfect’.


4. Overwhelm:

It’s a busy season! Feeling stretched thin in the lead up to the holidays is so common.


Stress levels

with work deadlines and full weekends, stress levels can build if you can’t carve out time for yourself. Try to set some time aside each week for yourself to recharge. 


Drink in moderation

with lots of social gatherings, drinking alcohol is common, but it’s good to remember that excessive alcohol can contribute to stress and anxiety.


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