Tips from Stress Experts on How to Keep Your Sanity During the Holidays

'tis the season to be stressed! We chatted with five stress experts about how to keep your sanity during the hectic holiday months.

It’s that time of year again, when the leaves begin to change, the temperature drops and your blood pressure increases because the holidays are looming.

We all love filling our bellies with delicious food, catching up with family we may not get to see throughout the year and opening gifts with loved ones, but the stress that comes with holiday prep (shopping, cooking, budgets, having to spend time with that one family member you hate) is no joke. How do you stay calm with so much going on during the winter months?

We spoke with five different stress experts to pick their brain on how they stay sane during the hectic holiday season, and here are their top tips.

Don’t Be Too Busy During the Holidays

Stress Expert: Jill PrinceName: Jill Prince
Twitter Handle: @strictlystress

There is no hard and fast rule that says you have to be crazy busy during the holidays, and keeping up with the Joneses doesn’t have to be a part of your Christmas. If being busy energizes you, then definitely go for it because some stress can be good stress, but if all that insanity exhausts you and makes you angry and bitter, then feel free to develop much simpler holiday traditions.

There are so many great ideas on the Internet about how to cut through all the hustle and bustle of the season and make far less stressful choices for your holiday memories; when you look back on your life in your golden years, do you want to remember panic or peace? It’s up to you.

[bctt tweet=”When you look back on your life in your golden years, do you want to remember panic or peace?” username=”topfive”]

Stay Mindful

Stress Expert: Dr MelanieName: Dr. Melanie Greenberg, PhD
Twitter Handle: @drmelanieg

Rather than just going with the flow of what everyone expects of you, decide which parts of the holidays are most meaningful to you and which parts are just busywork or people-pleasing. Set your boundaries, make deliberate choices that limit your stress and enhance your wellbeing and happiness. Stay present and connected with yourself and those you love, and have a mindful celebration!

[bctt tweet=”..decide which parts of the holidays are most meaningful to you…” username=”topfive”]

Distance Yourself From Anything and Everything that is Negative and Embrace the Positive

Stress Expert: Davina LytleName: Davina Lytle
Twitter Handle: @davinalytle

I find the holidays — especially Christmas — the hardest time of the year to deal with because they remind me just how dysfunctional my family is.

My advice during the holidays to keep your stress at a level you can handle is to distance yourself from anything, and everything that is negative and embrace the positive — even if it means distancing yourself from some of your biological family!

Try to make sure that you surround yourself with people that love and care about you for who you are — people that are supportive and non-judgemental — instead of people you can never seem to be “enough” for.

[bctt tweet=”Distance Yourself From Anything and Everything that is Negative and Embrace the Positive” username=”topfive”]

Stop Using “Threat Language” Against Yourself

Stress Expert: Artie WuName: Artie Wu
Twitter Handle: @presidelife

Threat language sounds like this: “The house needs to be perfect or else.” “The visit from family needs to be perfect or else.” “I need to lose 10 lbs or else.”  The “or else” here is the poison of threat language. “Or else…  what!?!” and the biggest implied threat here is that unless we do these things, we will somehow “lose love,” and this is simply not true. Try to spot your own inner “threat language” and cut down on it, and this will help the deeper blessing and abundance of the holiday seasons flow fully.

[bctt tweet=”Stop Using ‘Threat Language’ Against Yourself” username=”topfive”]

Mentally Prepare Yourself for Seeing Family

Stress Expert: Dr YipName: Dr. Yip
Twitter Handle: @drjennyyip

Many movies have depicted the traumatic experience of visiting family for the holidays. The reality is that family will always be family, along with their annoying habits, embarrassing stories, and complex dynamics. However, you can mentally prepare yourself beforehand. Practice relaxation exercises and mindful meditations. Give yourself an escape route, such as a walk around the block, if things get too uncomfortable. If possible, find a trusted relative, sibling or friend who can accompany you during these events and who you can signal if needed. Remember, the holidays won’t last forever, even though it may seem that way in the moment!

[bctt tweet=”Mentally Prepare Yourself for Seeing Family” username=”topfive”]

Want more ways to ensure a stress-free holiday season? Check out our Guide to Relieving Stress During the Holidays.

Got any stress-reducing tips to add? Let us know in the comments below!