Overcoming holiday stress

Stress may be the first thing that you think of as the holidays approach.

by Joy Abrams — 

The holidays are coming, the holidays are coming! How do I know? Because I am feeling such stress that I don’t know which way to go.

If this is your mantra lately, stress may be the first thing that you think of as the holidays approach. Too often, the holidays are accompanied by the emotional whiplash of anticipatory stress and the post-holiday letdown that follows. For some, it can take months to recover both physically and mentally.

There are many factors that can contribute to these feelings. They might include:

  • Over-emphasizing gift giving — Remember that people are more important than things, events or tasks.
  • Assuming all the responsibility — It should not be solely your responsibility if the holidays are a success.
  • Unrealistic expectations — Worrying that everything will run smoothly or that certain relatives will be in attendance can have a stressful impact on you.
  • Feeling lonely after holiday visits — You may feel a great letdown after loved ones return  home. Or you might just feel plain lonely during the holidays.

Tips to help reduce the stress

  • Share the work — You cannot possibly do everything yourself and not end up exhausted. Plan a progressive holiday dinner, instead of doing it alone. Change the focus from all work, all the time, to enjoying the people around you. Concentrate on being flexible and not sticking to tight schedules.
  • Be realistic — Every holiday has both joys and sorrows, as that is what life is about. There will be happiness and perhaps some disappointments. Do not expect that those around you will be at their best all the time.
  • Sad memories — There will always be thoughts of those who are no longer with us. Be thankful for the time you had with them and make the time count with the others you love.
  • Loneliness — If you feel lonely, seek out a friend to spend some time with. Do not be concerned about reaching out, even if they have many other obligations.
  • Stick to a good diet, sleep and exercise routine — When you are under stress, it is easy to get sick if you are not getting adequate sleep and eating properly. Practice yoga and take meditation breaks.

By following these simple suggestions, the holidays will be less challenging, as you will have fortified yourself both mentally and physically.


Joy Abrams, MA, FSII, is a feng shui and yoga master, international author and empowerment specialist. 602-791-5223, www.aaafengshuiandyoga.com or www.empowermentwithjoy.com.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 27, Number 6, December 2008/January 2009.

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