Six tips for managing holiday stress

November 15, 2019

By identifying what causes you stress during the holidays and making a plan to manage it, you’ll be better able to rest, relax, and reflect on the meaning of the season.

Some people look forward to the holidays all year, while others are overcome by a sense of dread. How will I ever get everything done? How many pounds will I gain this year? Will the family get along? The list could go on but, if left unaddressed, these thoughts all lead to the same thing … stress.

Try these six tips for managing holiday stress, so you can enjoy the season.

  1. Set priorities. People tend to focus on trying to create perfection this time of the year. Set reasonable goals for what you will do to celebrate. Decide in advance what is most important to you and your family and focus your celebrations around those things.
  2. Don’t overschedule. Downtime is essential to enjoying this special time of the year. Be careful to choose activities based on what you want to do rather than what you think you must do.
  3. Make a plan. Once you’ve set your priorities, plan how you will get things done. Make a calendar with important dates on it (the school play, the neighbors’ open house, and so on). Carefully plan your menus and do your shopping with a list. You’ll be less likely to forget important ingredients and eliminate the last-minute trips to the store that can leave you frazzled.
  4. Keep expectations realistic. It’s not your responsibility to make sure that everyone has a perfect holiday, so don't put that demand on yourself.
  5. Make a budget and keep it. If gift buying is part of your holiday celebration, decide in advance what you can afford to spend this year, create a budget, and then stick to it. Overspending during the holidays is a major source of stress, so be careful. Remember that gifts cannot buy happiness.
  6. Care for yourself and your family. During the holidays, people tend to neglect doing those things that reduce stress. For instance, you may overindulge in food and drink and leave exercise out of your daily life. Make it a goal to change that this holiday season. Make healthy choices about the types and amounts of foods you eat. Get outside for a brisk walk and take the kids.

More ways to manage stress

The Employee Assistance Program (EAP)* offers free resources and tools to help keep stress at bay, during the holidays and all year long. To find articles, podcasts, videos, online seminars, and more, log on to the EAP website, choose Employee Assistance Program (EAP) under Coverage, and click See Work/Life Resources under Home Life Referrals.

The EAP website requires a one-time registration, so be sure to register now if you haven’t already to have quick, easy access whenever you need it.


*The EAP is not available to members enrolled in Triple-S, GeoBlue, or the Medicare Supplement Plan.