How to Stay Stress-free Over the Holidays

Here at the Center for the Psychology of Women, we know that holidays can be a complicated time of year with some really great highs and some pretty bad lows. All the craziness that surround this season can rob us of the holiday cheer. I have a few tips on how to make the holidays exactly what you want.

  • Visualize what your ideal holiday looks like. As I sit here freezing (yes, I know it’s only in the 50’s here in Los Angeles) my ideal holiday involves warm, tropical breezes. Maybe you are dreaming of a white Christmas instead of white, sandy beaches, or having an intimate holiday with friends or your partner. Whatever it may be, write it out in detail, draw it, or make a collage of what your perfect holiday looks like.

You are allowed to not participate in the activities that you are dreading. It’s possible to skip them. This might make you feel guilty, but guess what? If you are overwhelmed, overstressed, and unhappy, everyone else in your life will be too.

  • Get creative and see how you can incorporate parts of your dream holiday into your plans. For instance, I can’t escape to somewhere tropical this year, but I am going to take my dog to the dog beach on Christmas Day so that my family can enjoy the beach, if not 80 degree weather.
  • Put your needs first. This may be the most challenging step yet. Notice what you left out of your ideal holiday plan, such as traveling to see your in-laws, or holiday office parties. Everyone acts as if these activities are mandatory, but they’re not! You are allowed to not participate in the activities that you are dreading. It’s possible to skip them. This might make you feel guilty, but guess what? If you are overwhelmed, overstressed, and unhappy, everyone else in your life will be too.
  • Make it happen! By making your ideal holiday happen, you will make it a wonderful time for everyone else too, because you will feel relaxed and happy. The inspiration for this came from my sister, who over the years, has made the holidays one of her favorite times. She follows the steps above and has a calm and joyful holiday season. If you need any tips on how to make your fantasy into reality let me know (I’ll get my sister on it!).

I hope everyone has a wonderful stress free holiday!