Holidays can be stressful.

It is common to take on too much, which can increase stress and sap holiday joy.

The top 3 holiday stressors are

*  lack of time

*  lack of money

*  perfectionism

and holiday stress is amplified by things like:

  • grief
  • loneliness
  • nostalgia
  • fatigue
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • changes in routine
  • strained family relationships
  • financial stresses
  • feeling a disconnect between how things really are, and how it’s advertised they should be
  • commercialization
  • negative self-evaluation
  • unrealistic expectations


To diminish the negative stress and thrive through the holidays….

Take a moment to reflect on what the holidays mean to you.  Under the surface of the parties and presents, what do you really treasure or find the most meaningful about the holidays?  Centre your time and actions around these.

Be choosy.  You cannot do everything.  Set priorities.

Decrease the number of items on your to-do list.  It’s okay to say no.


Give yourself realistic expectations.

Go with the flow.

Get outdoors.  Protect your sleep.  Limit sweets.  Exercise.  Laugh.  Have fun.  Relax your body.

If something is bothering you, communicate with family and friends or seek support from professional counsellors.  Asking for the support you need shows great strength.

Slow down.  Schedule down time.  Have some quiet evenings at home.

Keep your perspective.

Remember the steps you’re taking to connect with what is important to you.  Appreciate the things you’re grateful for each day.

Tailor the holidays to you.  Focus on what is meaningful to you and celebrate in your own way.


For effective, practical stress and sleep management skills that enhance health and performance, check out the Stress Management & High Performance Clinic programs at

Kathy Somers, R.Kin, BCB


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