6 Ways to reduce holiday stress

Even though holidays are supposed to bring warmth and cheer, the “most wonderful time of year” is often a source of even more anxiety and frustration for families who are already feeling burdened and stressed. If you are among them, you are not only at an increased risk of the holiday blues, you may be tempted to turn to food or other vices to cope with the mounting tension. To help you get a healthy handle on holiday stress, we asked Simplicity of Stillness expert Marlise Karlin, for a few practical, long-term stress-busting tips.

Grumpy woman wearing Santa hatHoliday joy or holiday hell?

You may start the holiday season with joy in your heart and the best of intentions to get through the end of the year with a genuine smile and your sanity intact. However, when holiday gift shopping adds to your financial woes and last-minute work deadlines start straining your time management skills, stress seems to be the only thing you’ll be getting in your stocking this year.

stress seems inescapable

If financial, emotional or physical challenges are taking the joy out of your holiday season, you aren’t alone. A recent American Psychological Association stress in America survey reports that seven in 10 Americans say that money is a significant source of stress (71 percent), with similarly high percentages reporting stress resulting from work (69 percent) and the economy (63 percent). More than half of adults (55 percent) also cited family responsibilities as a significant source of stress in their lives. It seems that stress is a built-in facet of everyday life…that only gets worse when the holiday season approaches. What can you do to salvage your sanity and holiday joy?

6 Ways to reduce holiday stress

Eliminating all the stressors in your life or even those that arise during the holiday season is an impossible feat, but you can learn how to cope with them in healthy ways that will help you truly enjoy the most wonderful time of the year. Marlise Karlin, a pro at teaching people how to release stress and reboot their lives in the face of life’s many challenges, offers the following healthy holiday tips.

1. Express yourself

Become aware of why you are stressed and speak about what’s not working – try pacing in your living room – until you’ve said everything you need to say. Really shout it out in a "I’m MAD AS HELL" kind of way. Soon, you will feel a shift in your disposition -- a shift for the better.

2. Write

If you haven’t formulated what the upset is, or have a hard time expressing yourself, then get out a pen or sit in front of your computer, and just write. You will be amazed at what pours out and how quickly you will feel your stress dissolve.


3. Reboot with Breath

Karlin teaches people how to decrease stress with a mind-body method called The 3 Breath Awareness. Take three deep breaths, each one focused on releasing any tension in your body, and connecting to that tranquil place of Stillness within. Envision the silent power of a mountain or the calming blue waters of a tranquil sea. With each breath feel that infinite peace expanding.

4. Get going

Change locations, move away from your desk or your present environment. Take a walk, a drive or even go shopping. Get a different perspective – you’ll feel your mind relaxing as you get involved in other activities.

5. Smile and Laugh

In the midst of your daily doings and especially while you are wrapped up in holiday plans, you can easily forget how to smile. Have a heart-to-heart or light-hearted conversation with friends, or even complete strangers, as it can change your state of mind so quickly. Talk with the sales person or the woman waiting in line. Chances are you’ll find many reasons to grin and giggle. Then you can watch your worries fade.

6. Gift yourself

Sure, you’ve got a mile-long gift shopping list for your family and friends, but make sure you’re on the list, too. Buy something just for you. Consider it a much-deserved present, especially once you have discovered how to shift your stress and share your happiness with others.


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