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15 Simple Ways to Relieve Holiday Stress and Anxiety

Nancy MacGregor MA, ATR-BC, LPC, ACS, Clinical Director

The holidays are a time for fun, celebration, and joy. However, with all of the planning and financial demands surrounding this time of year, stress and anxiety tend to creep in. Not to worry; at Harmony Bay Wellness, we understand how important it is to stay sane during the holiday season, which is why we’re sharing some simple tips to help you get through the holidays.

1. Get Moving

Staying active is a great way to relieve stress and boost your mood and energy levels. Exercising helps you focus on your activity rather than what’s causing you stress. Exercise has been proven to reduce tension, fatigue, anger, and confusion. So no matter how crazy the holidays get, it’s important to keep up with your exercise routine.

2. Go Outside

The outdoors is a great place to clear your mind and appreciate the beauty that surrounds us. Whether you’re going for a walk or just stepping outside to get some fresh air, being outside will help you relax and ultimately improve your concentration.

3. Keep a Balanced Diet

Have you ever noticed that if you eat a lot of bad food, you start to feel bad yourself? Eating real foods instead of empty-calorie treats will help keep you healthy, your energy up, and you’ll feel better all around.

4. Clear Your Mind and Meditate

Meditation is a great stress reliever. It helps you increase self-awareness and focus on the present moment instead of all of the what ifs that lie ahead. When you are present, your mind slows down and it’s easier to determine what you can control today and what can wait until tomorrow.

5. Get Some Sleep

Holiday parties, late-night shopping, and family staying over from out of town are all examples of events that can interrupt your regular sleep schedule. Getting a good night’s sleep reduces irritability and helps stabilize your mood – all things that you’ll need to fight off the holiday stressors.

6. Keep a Routine

Your daily routine typically involves things and activities that are important to you. With the holidays, it can be easy to substitute something holiday-related over your routine – but beware. Routines help us feel in control of our lives, diminishing the chance for anxiety to take over. So keep to yours and fit in holiday fun when it comes naturally.

7. Reach Out

‘Tis the season to share our admiration for those around us. Whether it’s family members, friends, colleagues, or the barista at your local coffee shop, be kind and share your appreciation. You never know how much a simple hello or thank you can mean to someone.

8. Expect the Unexpected

A good way to keep anxiety at bay is to expect the unexpected. Sounds counterintuitive at first. But if you keep your expectations realistic, you’ll leave room for the chance that something might not go the way it’s supposed to. That’s okay – plans change and mishaps happen. Keep an open mind and try and roll with the punches the best you can.

9. Plan Ahead

Don’t go into the holidays and hope everything will just magically work itself out. Plan out a (flexible) schedule of when you need to buy gifts, bake cookies, see family, connect with friends, etc. This can be in the form of a list or calendar reminders. By having a plan, you’ll feel more prepared and less anxious.

10. Know Your Limits

Dreading that friend’s get together? Not comfortable mingling in large groups? Recognize that you don’t have to say yes to every holiday event that you are invited to. Embrace saying no to the things you don’t want to do so you can make time for the things that matter to you.

11. Take a Break

Once the holiday season starts, it feels like it’s full speed ahead. It’s okay to take a break every now and then. By taking some time for yourself to decompress and do something you enjoy, you’ll be able to avoid holiday burnout. Take a walk, read a book, enjoy a warm cup of hot chocolate, etc.

12. Limit Social Media

Social media captures our best moments and rarely any of our worst. If you use social media, be aware of how much you are consuming. Try not to let yourself get wrapped up with what others are doing versus what you are or are not. Remember, things aren’t always as they seem.

13. Be Open to New Traditions

This year’s holiday season is going to be very different from years past. Keep an open mind about embracing virtual events to substitute the usual in-person parties. Additionally, things change every year so remember that it’s okay to keep the traditions that are meaningful to you, but it also might be fun to try out something new. You never know what might stick!

14. Stay Positive

During the holiday prepping or actual events, try to keep your rose-colored glasses on. If Aunt Mary is getting on your nerves, take a breath and try to understand that she probably has the best of intentions.

15. Ask for Help

To avoid overwhelming yourself with all of the holiday to-dos, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Whether you need an extra hand making a meal or someone to help you with your shopping, there’s nothing wrong with enlisting some help. The holidays are a time to come together – embrace it!

Manage Your Holiday Stress with the Help of Harmony Bay Wellness

By using some of these ideas, you’ll be able to enjoy the holiday season this year. If you’re having trouble managing your stress and anxiety, Harmony Bay Wellness is here to help. Give us a call at 855.765.6399 and we’ll work together to determine a mental health therapy plan that works best for you.



Treatment with Harmony Bay

Harmony Bay is an outpatient behavioral health service that offers primary mental health treatment for a variety of mental health disorders. Our mission is to make mental health care convenient and affordable while providing an unmatched experience to our clients. contact us today by calling 855.765.6399.