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  • Writer's pictureHeather Keenan, LCSW

Managing Stress During the Holidays

Holiday season. Two words that can create different emotions for different individuals. For some, the holiday season is an enjoyable and exciting time. However, this season can also be stressful for a variety of reasons. Whether it’s family conflict, financial pressures, or work deadlines, it can be difficult to manage the overwhelming stress and pressure. In preparation for this holiday season, here are some ideas on how to manage your stress.

Set Limits

Setting limits to protect your mental state is extremely important. Many times we find ourselves in this pattern of always saying “yes”. We neglect what we need or what we can handle because we feel the obligation to please others. Especially during the holiday season, a lot of pressure can be placed on you at work or even with family. Of course, we want to provide for these areas of our lives. However, how many of us feel burnt out entering the new year? The idea of setting limits can be different for each person. A few examples can be turning your work phone off at a certain time or setting a time limit for conversations with a family member that often creates stress for you. Set the limits that are needed to take care of yourself.

Take Breaks

Similar to setting limits, it is important to allow yourself to take breaks. This requires us to listen to our body when it is trying to tell us to slow down. Oftentimes, we neglect these signs from our bodies and are constantly “on the go”. This can be counterproductive because we end up not being fully present during the actual holiday because we haven’t taken a second to even breathe while preparing for it. Take the break and be in a better mindset to enjoy the holiday.

Plan Ahead

Planning ahead can decrease the stress you may experience when it gets closer to the holidays. Make a list of what you need to do to prepare for the holidays and identify which tasks you can do ahead of time. Completing your to-do list over the span of a month is much less stressful than completing that same list in a week.

Be Consistent With a Routine

Around this time of a year, it’s common for us to become inconsistent with our usual routine. These routines can be in the form of our eating, sleeping, self-care, or even a morning routine. Never underestimate the power of developing a routine and sticking to it. When we are consistent with these habits, we feel more in control and organized. This will put us into a better headspace where we can take on the holidays.


Last but most definitely not least, practice some self-compassion. This time of year is difficult. You are not alone in feeling that way. At the end of the day, we are all just trying to do the best we can and doing the best we can is more than enough. I challenge you to thank yourself throughout this season. Thank yourself for showing up and taking action, for taking breaks, and for everything in between.

If you practice these techniques and still find your stress to be unmanageable, it may be time to ask for help. For a free 15-minute consultation call, please call 954-391-5305.


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