How to Deal with the Holiday Stress: 5 Timeless Tips

How to Deal with the Holiday Stress: 5 Timeless Tips

“May you have warmth in your igloo, oil in your lamp, and peace in your heart!”
Inuit proverb

The holidays are upon us.

A time of needed relaxation and more time with the people closest to us.

A time of stress and worries. A time of not all the joy you may have hoped for or been promised by upbeat advertising and movies.

It can be a time of mixed feelings.

So today I would like to share 5 powerful and timeless tips that can help you to make the holidays  – and 2023 too – a more joyful and peaceful time.

1. Slow down.

“For fast-acting relief, try slowing down.”
Lily Tomlin

First, slow down. Even if it may feel silly and if you have to force it a bit. Slow down your body, move and walk slowly.

Breathe slower and more deeply with your belly (and focus on doing just that for two minutes and see what happens).

Slow down your eating (this will not only help you to relax, it will also help you to not eat too much during the holidays since it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to register that you are full).

Slow it all down and pay attention to what you are doing.

Be here now and focus on doing just one thing at a time.

By slowing down, by being here now, by not having your focus split between many things you – your body and your mind – start to relax.

2. Appreciate the little things instead of focusing on perfection.

“Nobody can be uncheered with a balloon.”
Winnie the Pooh

Daily happiness is to a large part about appreciating the small things.

If you just allow yourself to be happy when accomplishing a big goal or when everything lines up just perfectly then you are making life harder than it needs to be.

Instead, focus on appreciating things that you may take for granted.

Take two minutes and find things in your life you can appreciate now.

If you want a handful of suggestions, here are a few of the things that I like to appreciate around the holidays:

  • All the tasty food.
  • My health.
  • My family and friends.
  • That I have a roof and a warm home as the snow is falling and the cold winds are blowing.
  • The beautiful wintery landscapes.

3. Give a bit of joy to someone else.

“Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give.”
Eleanor Roosevelt

This may sound like an empty cliche but it surely works. One of the best ways to become happier is simply to make others happier.

When you make someone else happy you can sense, see, feel and hear it. And that happy feeling flows back to you.

And since the Law of Reciprocity is strong there is another upside. People will feel like giving back to you.

Or like paying it forward to someone else.

And so the two (or more) of you keep building an upward spiral of for example positivity, of helping out, of cheering up and of lending a listening ear and support.

4. Focus on what is most valuable.

“You can never get enough of what you don’t need to make you happy.”
Eric Hoffer

“Joy is not in things; it is in us.”
Benjamin Franklin

Instead of focusing on a lot of things focus on what is most important and valuable to you.

If you still have Christmas gifts to buy then instead of giving away a lot of expensive stuff it may be better to give one thing that the person you are giving it to will truly appreciate.

Or maybe you could skip giving a physical thing altogether. And instead give away an experience that will become a special day and cherished memory for him or her or for the two of you.

However you choose to go about things over the holidays make it YOUR choices as best you can and not a bunch of shoulds that mostly make you feel deflated.

5. Just accept how you feel right now.

“We cannot change anything until we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses.”
Carl Jung

Maybe you try some of the tips above.

And they still can't help you to shake that negativity, worries or stress you are carrying around. I would then suggest that you just accept that the feeling is there.

Tell yourself: This is how I feel right now and I accept it.

This might sound counter-intuitive and like you are giving up.

However, by accepting how you feel instead of resisting it you reduce the emotional energy that you are feeding into this conflict or problem.

And it then tends to lose speed like a car that runs out of fuel.

Sometimes the problem or conflict will then become so weak that it just moves out of your mind.

By accepting what is you have now freed up energy and your attention so your mind can become more level-headed, open and constructive once again.

And you can see more clearly and take focused action towards a solution.


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About the Author

Henrik Edberg is the creator of the Positivity Blog and has written weekly articles here since 2006. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Gothenburg and has been featured on Lifehacker, HuffPost and Paulo Coelho’s blog. Click here to learn more…

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Renee Waters

    Thanks for your wisdom and positivity. I was also both on September 17th and now how much we Virgos worry! Take good care!

  • Rainer Stoll

    Thanks for the great summaries. I truly enjoy reading your posts. Happy Holidays everyone from New York

  • Cynthia Wilson

    Your thoughts of wisdom are always so appreciated and needed. Thank you!

  • Anonymous

    I absolutely loved and shared your thoughts here :) Thank you!

  • Paula Liberty

    Thank you thank you Henrik for always reminding me to identify with the Light within me instead of my darkness.

  • Yes! I too, quite benefit from your positive quotes and suggestions, Henreck:)
    My favorite today was, “Nobody can be unhappy with a balloon:)”
    -Winnie the Pooh
    I’ve always loved a single balloon, since I was a little girl. I’m 68 now & get so happy haha Laing one & even letting it go! Thanks for the joyful reminder!

  • Craig Dunglison

    Thanks for this – great stuff and soooo practical

  • Thank you! It’s been good as always. Wish you all the best this holiday season

  • I love the last point, “Accept how you feel right now.” I (we) tend to allow our emotions run rough-shot over our mind. If I acknowledge how I feel, I can better control the negative ones.

  • Thanks for gathering these methods to release the press in holiday. Is good to motivate ourselves through the words of the successful people.

    This quote is especially true and very motivating:

    “A year from now you may wish you had started today.”
    – Karen Lamb

  • It can be a challenging time of year for many people, with the added pressure of social events, financial obligations, and the expectation of feeling joyful and festive. It’s important to remember that it’s okay to take a step back and prioritize self-care during this time. Setting boundaries, practicing relaxation techniques, and seeking support from loved ones can all be helpful in managing holiday stress. It’s also important to recognize that it’s normal to have ups and downs, and it’s okay to take a break from the holiday cheer if needed. Thank you for reminding us to prioritize our well-being and to be kind to ourselves during the holiday season.

  • Cynthia (Ottawa, Canada)

    Thank you for another year of positivity! These short, readable posts are filled with straight-forward clear advice. All the best to you for 2023, Henrik. You continue to make the world a better place.

  • Mila

    Loved this holiday tips, simple & doable . Thank you so much for sharing Henrick!