Holiday Stress Relievers for the Gift of Peace

Ah, the holidays are really here. Yup, it’s holiday crunch time and let’s hope that the crunch isn’t the sound of your head banging against a wall! I know you can tell what time of year it is. The stores are more crowded, your “to do” list is a mile long, your calendar is full of events and errands. Perhaps the littlest things are starting to annoy you. Then there’s drama with family, friends, work, money…ok, so you know all about those things that can create holiday stress. So how are you going to get through this time? Do you have a plan to relieve the stress and really honest-to-goodnessly (ok, I made that word up!) enjoy the holidays?

Holiday Stress Relievers for the Gift of Peace

Look, I’m not a doctor nor do I play one on TV, but I have a list of ways I like to relax each year when it comes to holiday time. Here are a few suggestions that I hope will ease the stress for you like it does for me!

Take a walk, exercise, or go to the gym

Burning a few extra calories will energize you and take your mind off the immediate pressure of today’s tasks. If the weather is cooperative, just 15-20 minutes of fresh, outside air will reset you for the day.

Nature is the perfect natural relaxer

I enjoy a break from the stress by simply watching something peaceful and natural. It clears my mind. It can be a sunset, a look at the stars, or even a stroll on the boardwalk while watching the waves crash in on the shoreline. Even sitting in front of a fireplace with a cup of tea or hot chocolate will relax me if the outdoors is too much for me that day.

Do something you really enjoy

Doing something just for you at a time when the calendar is saying that everything you do is for everyone else can be a miracle cure. For me, it’s watching MLB TV to catch up on the latest baseball news and trades. After all, I’m already salivating about the start of spring training…now just 2 months away! Whatever it may be for you, make it selfish and all about you for just a few minutes.

Stay positive

It’s all supposed to result in fun and fond memories, right? Keep in mind that all the hard work and stress will pay off with good times and it will keep you motivated to make that a reality.

Try meditation

For ten minutes each day, try one of the oldest methods of relaxation. Sit quietly and focus on some pleasant scenario. Chanting is optional. It’s sort of a nap in calmness for your brain. Don’t let yourself be interrupted by anything (turn off that phone) and you’ll feel completely recharged.

Take a bath

Calgon, take me away” as they used to say. Believe me, a nice warm bath will relax you. If done at bedtime, it will help insure success for this next tip.

Get a good night’s sleep

It’s so important when you are really busy and stressed to get a good night’s sleep so you’ll be ready to do it all over again the next day. Melatonin, a natural hormone that deals with sleep onset, can be taken in an over-the-counter supplement form to help you fall asleep quicker if you’re having difficulty. I take some each night at bedtime.

Focus on your “done” list each day

A little self-congratulating and back patting will make you feel better and take your mind off the “to do’s” for a few minutes each day. Revel in the glory of a job well done!

Sniff some citrus fruit

I’m not kidding…scents like lemon and orange act on the brain and cause relaxation. Use them when you’re cooking, have some for a snack, or squeeze a wedge into your tea. Or find a scented aromatherapy candle…my wife likes orange rosemary with the citrus for relaxation and the herb for energy.

Just don’t overdo yourself

Set reasonable goal(s) each day and plan ahead carefully. Pacing yourself will allow you to ease into the finish line and not fall over it in a heap. If you can, allow extra time in your schedule for the unexpected.

Set some tech-free time

You’re entitled to be out of the loop for a while each day. Turn off the phone and don’t check Facebook or e-mail for an hour, and you’ll feel less interrupted and more focused.

Help others

It sounds counter-intuitive to add another thing to your list, but when you concentrate on helping others, instead of your own problems, it can really lift your spirits. Volunteer at a local charity, or simply help a neighbor and get into the spirit of giving.

Ask for help!

You can’t and won’t be able to do everything yourself, even if you want to do it that way. Ask your spouse, kids, friends, and family members to help with something you can comfortably delegate. You may be very surprised at their willingness to help.

Eat breakfast every day

Just like school kids who perform better when they eat breakfast, you will too! It gives you the energy to get off to a great start and feel positive and refreshed. Even if you’re in a rush, grab a quick bite you can take with you.

Music soothes you

Put on some of your favorite tunes around the house or in the car and relax for a minute or ten. It can be Christmas carols or hard rock or whatever you’re in the mood for. It will make you smile, I guarantee it.


You may have hear me say this about many different subjects, but visualizing your success goes a long way to getting you there. Many successful people use this technique to overcome problems, stress, and the pressures of everyday life. It works and all it requires is focus and belief.


With so much to do, holiday stress is sure to happen, but having a few tricks up your sleeve will let you enjoy the season like it’s meant to be.

Are you overwhelmed at this point in the year? What do you do to relieve stress?

Image courtesy of AndreyCherkasov at (with changes)


  1. Breakfast is a biggie. I get very grouchy if I don’t eat something small every couple of hours. And when my blood sugar is low, I’m also far more emotional — including stress.

    But yes, a good dose of exercise — even for a few minutes — can help. If nothing else, you feel smug for having done something!

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