How to Avoid Holiday Stress

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‘Tis the season to be…stressed. There, I said it.

I am a really positive person by nature but every year during the holiday season at some point I find myself thinking how sad it is that what is supposed to be the happiest season can easily become the most stressful time of year.

But, it doesn’t have to be that way. With a little planning and perspective, you can find more peace this year with these tips on how to avoid holiday stress.

Tips on How to Avoid Holiday Stress


1. Implement a Method to the Shopping Madness

A lot of the holiday stress for me comes from last minute running around. If you plan ahead you can save time and streamline your errands.

First, make a list of all the people you will buy gifts for this season along with gift ideas. You can also do a budget if that helps you feel less stressed as well.

Once you have your list of gifts, write down where you will get them, and make a list of your retail shopping locations, gifts to buy at those stores, and online shopping.

Take your retail stores and make a shopping plan where you can either take a chunk of time and do a lot of it in one day, or break it up into stops where you can plan out when you will hit those stores.

For your online orders, schedule a block of time so you can do the majority of it at once.

2. Shop Early. Like Now.

Once you are done with your list, there is no time like the present (no pun intended), so get out there and get as much shopping done early as possible. Having your shopping done will, in itself, make you feel more at peace.

3. Evaluate Your Social Calendar

A lot of stress for the month of December comes from the “fun” events, right?! The additional in social events can really throw off your groove.

Just like your shopping, write down all the social obligations you will have for the month by date.

Taking it a step further, write down any shopping or preparation needed for that event.

For example, do you need a new pair of heels for your husband’s Christmas party? Need to buy a gift for your child’s holiday classroom party?

Add those errands to the retail stops or online orders in your shopping plan so you can get it all done in one swoop!

3. RSVP “No” If Needed (It’s OK!)

The holidays can sometimes be too much. Give yourself permission to politely decline a social invitation if you feel like you are getting over scheduled. You don’t have to go to everything. Say it again with me, “you don’t have to go to everything.”

4. Give Yourself Permission to Take Shortcuts

Nobody cares if you buy a dozen sugar cookies from your local bakery for your cookie exchange. Put it in your own dish with a pretty bow and call it a day. Nobody has to know. I won’t tell.

5. Schedule in Time to Take Care of Yourself

In the month of December, it is easy to forget to take care of ourselves. In your week, schedule one hour (or more!) of an activity that relaxes you. Maybe it’s a pedicure, reading a book, taking a bath, going for a walk with a girlfriend, etc. Taking time to recharge your battery will help ease the stress and keep you more in balance.

6. That’s a Wrap

In the week(s) prior to Christmas (NOT the night before) schedule a block of time to be in your house ALONE to get all your wrapping done. If that means arranging for your husband or the grandparents to take the kids for the day, do it! Even better, maybe there is a high school student in your neighborhood that would want to wrap your gifts for a small fee? Consider outsourcing if needed.

Just don’t leave your wrapping until the wee hours of the night. You need your sleep.

7. Silent Night

Speaking of sleep, the number one thing you can do to avoid holiday stress and find peace is to make sure you are getting a solid night’s sleep, every night. No more online shopping or gift wrapping late into the night! Plan ahead so you can make sure that your sleep is not sacrificed. Lack of sleep and over-caffienation can make anyone feel stressed.

I hope some of these tips have been helpful. Now go out and dazzle this holiday season! 

[This post was originally created for and published on the Serta i Heart Sleep Blog. I am a Serta brand ambassador and am compensated for my time and participation in their blogger program.]


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  1. 1
    christy says:

    Love this post! I completely agree…especially with the advice of making a specific list. I keep mine in my phone “notes” section…I make a list in advance, and then when I’m out and about, I’ll start knocking it out. Same with shopping online. I know who I have to buy for, my budget, who does free shipping (Amazon Prime!!!), and then I’ll wait for things to go on sale 🙂

  2. 2
    Jen says:

    So smart. I think if you have it organized in that way, it makes it easier. When I don’t write things down, I end up forgetting something, and then kick myself that I was JUST at Target and didn’t get it, etc.! Off to make my list right now…

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