How to Manage Holiday Stress

Holidays can be wonderful, but they can also trigger different emotions depending on your experiences, perspectives, and current family or social situation. Some people may feel a high stress level during the holidays due to family or work commitments, financial issues, grief, health or other issues. Remember that stress is a reaction to an event, and you are in control of those reactions, if not the events.

Below are several simple ways to manage holiday stress and build good memories:

  • Plan fun activities, organize your time, and prioritize your responsibilities.
  • Involve family members and friends in the planning and implementation of activities. Teamwork and collaboration could be great ways to build positive memories.
  • Find ways to relax and manage your emotions. When you feel frustrated or upset, it is difficult to engage in a solution-focused mindset.
  • Be creative about finding ways to connect with your loved ones. If you live far from them, coordinate a video call or phone call to let them know that they are important and meaningful to you.
  • Remember your loved ones that are no longer present by looking at photos, watching videos, or engaging in conversations with others about your memories and happy moments.
  • Create a budget based on your financial situation. Sometimes small or simple details could make a big difference. Many people may appreciate spending quality time with you and engaging in interesting and meaningful conversations.
  • Be mindful of your decisions and the consequences. If drinking alcohol or using substances create health problems or conflict in your relationships, find healthy ways to enjoy the holiday activities. Remember that you are in control of your life.
  • A gratitude attitude may help with feeling more positive and content with what you have, what you achieved so far, and the future possibilities.
  • Be flexible and have realistic expectations. Perfection does not exist. Focus on doing your best and enjoying the present, accepting the things that you cannot control, being aware of your limitations and strengths.
  • Help others. Volunteering or making donations could make you feel fulfilled and proud. Sharing is a great way to practice compassion and kindness.
  • Take control of your wellbeing. If you feel that your stress is out of control, take a deep breath, call a family member or friend, contact a therapist or a mentor, call the crisis line, or go to the nearest emergency room. There are different community resources available. It is OK to ask for help.
  • The counselors from the UF Scripps Biomedical Research Employee Counseling Services are available to talk to you about other ways to cope with stress or any other topic that is relevant to you. Feel free to call Dana Scoville, PhD., LMHC at 561 228 2288, or Claudia Herrera, PhD, LMFT at 561 228 2028.

By Claudia Herrera, Ph.D., LMFT

Based on the article “10 Ways to Cope with Holiday Stress” by Eugene Beresin, MD, MA. Psychology Today, 2021