The holiday season tends to be associated with joy and happy moments. However, this special time of the year can also bring about holiday stress as there is a lot to do, activities to attend, presents to buy, money to be spent, food being consumed, social obligations, etc.

The following are 10 ways that can help you deal with holiday stress:

  1. Planning ahead – With so much to do and plans to be made, do not leave everything until the last minute, as this will stress you out. Rather than chasing time, make a list of what you need to complete and activities you may want to attend, and plan a few weeks in advance. This will allow you to go through your to-do list at a slower pace.  
  2. Budgeting – We all know that the holiday season can be quite expensive. With presents to buy, meals to host or attend, and tickets to events, the costs add up. Set a budget and do not be afraid to set limits; you do not want to end up being broke after Christmas just because you did not budget properly. If need be, set limits for how many presents you buy and the price range. Discuss this with family and friends so that no one feels awkward that they did not give a gift or that you did not spend within the same price range. 
  3. Online shopping – As the holiday season gets closer, there tends to be more rush in the streets and in the shops making traffic and parking an even bigger nightmare. Consider getting your orders done online so that you do not have to stay running around and can get the shopping done from the comfort of your home.
  4. Teamwork – If you are hosting a meal or a party, you do not have to prepare everything yourself. You can ask people to bring some food items with them so that you can share the workload and ask other family members to help out with chores and errands related to the event. 
  5. Focus on what matters – What do the festivities mean to you? If your focus is the religious aspect, that is where you need to invest most of your time and energy. If your focus is to spend time with loved ones then where you meet and what you do should not matter as much as long as you are together. 
  6. Routines – The festivities can be a very hectic period, and because of this, you may break your routines which may include healthy habits, and end up feeling like you are all over the place. Try to maintain some normality in your days by still engaging in routines such as exercise, getting enough sleep and eating healthily, especially on those days when you do not have events to attend to. 
  7. Setting Boundaries – It is important to know what your limits are to not feel overwhelmed. If you find that you have many events that you have been invited to, say no to some of them. If you are going to be too stressed, you will still end up not enjoying being there. If you have family who want to visit more than you would like, make it clear that you are unavailable.   
  8. Creating new traditions – If there are traditions that you are unhappy with, create new ones with your friends, family or even on your own. Focus on what brings you joy; sometimes that may mean changing old ways of doing things that were not working out for you. 
  9. Finding ways to relax – Some holiday stress may be inevitable when there is so much to do. Remind yourself to find some moments that help you relax. This could be having a bath, reading a book, watching an episode, going for a walk, etc. Do not forget about yourself and your needs during this busy time. 
  10.  Seek support – Finally, if you are feeling overwhelmed, seek support from family and friends. This could involve having a chat with them about how you feel and perhaps asking them for some practical help. Furthermore, should you feel that your psychological well-being is being negatively impacted, you may also want to consider seeking professional help such as that from a therapist. 

Dr Marilyn Muscat is registered as an Educational Psychologist with the Health and Care Professions Council in the United Kingdom where she trained. She works with children, adolescents and their families to understand more about educational, social and emotional well-being concerns that they have and to help them improve upon their difficulties. She can be contacted on or call us on 79291817.

If you think that you can benefit from professional support on this issue, you can reach out here.