Why do we often feel so stressed during the holiday season? Part of the reason is the busyness. So, try these tips for reducing your schedule-induced stress this season.

Say no. You don’t have to participate in every activity, party and event. Select the ones most important to you and graciously decline the rest.

Focus on the holiday traditions most important to you. Is it baking special treats, discovering amazing gifts, or decorating the house to the nines? Pick one and reduce your efforts on the others. No one can do it all, so don’t expect it of yourself. Even those who seem to “have it all together” frequently delegate or take shortcuts. You can, too, even if for just this year.

TIPS FOR ENTERTAINING: Instead of baking cookies for hours, use pre-made dough or make bar cookies to frost festively. Consider baking a double batch and trading half with a friend to offer greater variety to your family and guests. Host the family gathering at a restaurant or make it potluck to reduce cooking time. If these aren’t options, simplify the menu for your big meal and use more pre-made items.

SHOPPING TIPS: Avoid the harried shopping scene by giving gift cards or shopping online.  Send electronic greetings instead of paper cards.  

DECORATING TIPS: Try some different approaches to decorating this year. If you typically spend hours outlining the house in lights, try skipping it this year. Instead you can go for big visual appeal by, for example, illuminating a large wreath on the side of your house with a spotlight. Or, you can concentrate on the front door, most visitors’ focal point, with a grouping of small, pre-lit trees on the porch or other festive touch. Don’t hang every ornament or set out every piece of decor. Some items can wait a year. Use only the things that mean the most to you and your family.

SELF-CARE TIPS:  Cutting corners in your self-care regular routine results in more stress. Instead, take care of your physical, mental and spiritual by dropping the less important holiday traditions. You function better when you rest sufficiently, exercise and eat right. Schedule time to regularly unwind, doing something you enjoy. Continue to participate in spiritually enriching activities you normally enjoy.

The real joy of the season isn’t about doing more, buying more or even giving more, but appreciating more. Set aside moments to reflect on the blessings of the past year. It’s OK to acknowledge the difficult moments, but try to focus on how they have helped you grow.

Here’s hoping that you have less-stressed happy holiday season this year!






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