The holidays are a wonderful time of year for both adults and children. However relationships, finances and physical and emotional demands can result in holiday stress. The following are some causes, which you might relate. The good news is, with some helpful tips you too can have a stress-free holiday.

Relationships: Relationship tension among family, friends, and intimate partners, can become worse during the holidays. And if you're facing the holidays without a loved one, you may find yourself lonely or sad. Family relationships: Especially if you are together for several days, conflicts among family members are bound to arise with so many needs and interests to accommodate. Intimate partners: Whether you are dating or recently married or living together, tension often arises when deciding when both want to follow their own traditions, but yet want to be together.

Finances: Like your relationships, finances can also cause stress at any time of the year. But overspending during the holidays on gifts, travel, food and entertainment can increase stress if you spend beyond your means.

Physical demands: Activities such as shopping, attending social gatherings, unrealistic expectations, over-commercialization, and preparing holiday meals can wear you down. Feeling tired can also increase your stress, creating a vicious cycle. Then in addition to stress, add lack of exercise, and overindulgence in food and drink can result in holiday illness. Getting plenty of exercise and sleep are good ways to help manage stress and fatigue.


  • Expect less! Don’t compete with past holidays or try to make this one “the best ever”.  Set realistic goals, pace yourself, and organize time.  Write a list of the most important activities and things to do. Don’t plan too much. Be realistic about what you can do. Don’t spend too much time preparing for one day (Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc.).
  • Allow yourself to feel: The holiday season does not automatically make feelings of sadness or loneliness go away. Allow yourself to feel however you feel but talk with others about how you feel when you begin to feel down.
  • Let go of the past!  Don’t be disappointed if your holidays are not like they used to be.  Life brings changes.  Each holiday season is different and can be enjoyed in its’ own way.  You set yourself up for sadness if everything has to be just like the “good old days”.  Especially with the loss of a loved one, keep memories in your heart and dedicate new traditions to them and look toward the future.
  • Do something for someone else.  Try volunteering to help others.
  • Enjoy “free” holiday activities: Drive and look at Holiday decorations, go window shopping.
  • Do not drink too much.  Alcohol is a depressant. Drinking can make you feel more depressed.
  • Don’t be afraid to try something new.  Celebrate the holidays in a way you have not done before.
  • Spend time with “supportive” people who care about you.  Even those who care about you might not always be supportive (both family and friends). Make new friends if you are alone during special times.  Contact someone you have lost touch with.
  • Spend less and not over what you can afford. Make gifts & be creative. Don’t get caught up in the “buying trend”.
  • Take care of yourself! Get plenty of exercise, sleep, and time to relax by living in the moment.
  • Find time for yourself!  Don’t spend all your time providing activities for your family and friends. 
  • If you are depressed or need someone to talk to, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

 Source: National Mental Health Association

Remember to follow these tips to help keep you and your family safe this holiday season. Watch out for all of the eight part serious on holiday safety including Cooking, Stress-Free Holidays, The Holidays After Loss of A Loved One, Shopping, Child Safe Gift Guide, Gift's and Child Boundaries, and Family Holiday Activities and more.

You can also visit Winter Holidays and Winter Sport Safety or read or print Holiday Times for all your holiday safety needs.

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