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8 ways to have a stress-free holiday season

With these eight ways to incorporate self-care into your holiday season, you will have the energy and mental well-being to enjoy your time with family members and friends. 

It’s easy to let the holiday season become a stressful and overwhelming time.

There are many pressures to make perfect meals and memories. There is an overwhelming number of activities and obligations. There are many demands on our wallets. Plus, extra time with family members may cause emotional stress.

We often neglect self-care and mental wellness even though we may need it even more than usual during this season. Regular exercise and eating habits go out the window, along with quiet downtime. All this leaves us feeling unhealthy, on edge, and unable to enjoy the holidays we work so hard to make memorable. 

Instead, commit to incorporating self-care into your days this holiday season. Taking care of yourself will help you avoid feeling stressed and be calm and present with your family and friends. Below are eight quiet ways to have a stress-free holiday season. 



Morning Meditation

Beginning your morning with meditation allows you to clear your mind and start your day with intention. When we wake up and start doing tasks or hopping right on our phone, we allow our day to lead us. By meditating first thing each day, we train our minds to be still, and slowing down can enable us to make calmer, wiser decisions about how we want our day to go. 

If you are new to meditation, start with five minutes and build up to more time. Meditation apps can walk you through breathing techniques and help your brain stay focused. These five meditation apps each offer a beginner course.

Gratitude Journal

A gratitude journal is another helpful way to begin the day. Studies show that gratitude and writing down what we are grateful for is good for our health and well-being. This can be as simple as finding a notebook or piece of paper and starting a sentence with, “I am grateful for…”

And if you are running out of ideas or need some inspiration, this article from Positive Psychology provides exercises and prompts.



It’s all too easy to let regular exercise routines fall by the wayside during the busy holiday season. However, you will feel better about those extra calories and have more energy for all the additional tasks on your to-do list if you maintain a consistent exercise routine.

Very Well Fitness suggests planning ahead, bringing small equipment with you if you are travelling, and infusing a bit of creativity as strategies for staying active during the holidays. 

Go Out Into Nature

Being outside in nature is linked to decreasing stress and reducing anxiety, and feeling more positive and connected. It may take some extra motivation to get outside during colder, possibly snowy months. But, even a quick walk around the block can have positive impacts. 

Other winter outdoor ideas from Graying with Grace include cooking outside or finding a spa with an outdoor hot tub.


Maintain Your Downtime

Don’t neglect relaxing hobbies you enjoy—like reading, knitting, or doing puzzles—during the holiday season. Finding time to slow down and do what you enjoy provides needed self-care during the hectic holiday season.

This article, “8 Ways to Find More Time to Read, Even If You're Super Busy” provides tips for reading more, which you can apply to additional hobbies as well. 

Plan the Next Day

There is usually more to be done during the holiday season. Keeping a list of projects, gifts to purchase or make, and menu items for meal planning will help you stay organized. Each night, think about how much time you have the next day and what you can realistically accomplish. 


Wind Down in the Evening

A calming nighttime routine is just as important as a peaceful morning routine. Reading, making a phone call to a good friend, or taking a soothing bath are helpful ways to end your day on a positive and calming note. 

One of the most essential benefits of winding down in the evening is getting set up for a good night’s sleep. How to Build a Better Bedtime Routine for Adults provides some helpful tips.

Say No

The best way to avoid a stressful holiday is to say no as much as possible. Say no to social gatherings you don’t want to go to, no to extra volunteering that will stretch you too thin, no to indulgences that will make you regretful when your credit card bill arrives, and no taking on projects that will take more time and energy than you have. Create time, space, and money for your priorities and own well-being.

It takes planning and a commitment to care for yourself to create a stress-free holiday season. With these eight ways to incorporate self-care into your holiday season, you will have the energy and mental well-being to enjoy your time with family members and friends.