How to Deal With Last-Minute Holiday Stress

The holidays can be stressful, but they don’t have to be!

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Every year, at least one of my friends ends up venting in the group chat about the holidays. Whether it’s over hanging out with the family (or your significant other’s), what to get everyone for presents, or just the post (and pre) semester jitters, there are more than enough reasons to be stressed this holiday season.

That begs the question then — how are you supposed to stay chill during the holidays when everything feels like it’s working against you? 

This does depend a bit on the environment you find yourself in. Your stress relief strategies will change if you’re at home versus in the airport, trying to pick up yet another family member who’s staying for Christmas.

That being said, I’ve condensed my holiday stress relief strategy into three steps that you can fulfill anywhere at any time, should you so need.

1. Take a break from the holiday mood

This doesn’t mean you have to surrender your Christmas tunes and your eggnog. However, I’ve noticed that it can be easy to get burned out on things that promote the holiday spirit, especially when you’re already stressed. Suddenly, things like decorating cookies with your cousins aren’t fun activities — they’re exhausting and over-stimulating.

If this happens to you, take a step away from the tree decorating and take a walk or find a quiet spot in the house. I usually text a friend or listen to a meditation video on YouTube when taking a break from the holiday oversaturation, but you can do anything that calms you down quickly and is not related to the holidays. 

If you happen to be out and about and are surrounded by too many things Christmas related (be it at the airport or the grocery store), change the mood for yourself at least by blasting your favorite non-holiday mix on the drive home or through your earbuds. 

Even the littlest break can help so much on focusing on more than the symbols of the season.

2. Have a two-step self-care plan ready

You may be asking “Why only two steps? Shouldn’t my self-care have more?” While I am all for long self-care plans (I love mental health days for a reason), two-steps are easier to accomplish when you’re being pulled in twenty different directions by friends and family.

As with any self-care plan, it all depends on you and your needs. For me, a cup of tea to ground myself and a five-minute break with a book is all I need. One of my friends needs a pair of fuzzy socks and a face mask to feel alright in a hurry, while another just focuses on a short stretch break and making sure that she’s hydrated and full.

Maybe you get your hygge on, or maybe you condense your usual self-care routine to a more manageable two to three steps. Either way, just make sure to check in with yourself every so often during the holiday week.

3. Ask for Space

Sometimes, no matter what you do, you’ll still be overwhelmed. This is when you tell people — be it your friends, family, significant other — to excuse you while you take a short break. That break can be for anything you need: a quick dash to the store for a last minute gift, reprieve from your aunt asking about your love life or even just a moment to catch your breath.

Sometimes, to feel less stressed, you just need more space to do what you need to do in. While there is an emphasis on family and community this time of year, you shouldn’t forget about yourself. After all, you can’t enjoy yourself or others when your mind is more focused on the stressful details.

This holiday season, we wish you relaxation and all the time you need to yourself!

What do you think?

Do the holidays stress you out? How do you cope? What things are stressing you out at the moment–and how can we help? Let us know in the comments!

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