Peace on Earth? How to Keep the Holidays from Stressing You Out

The holidays can be a stressful time of year. We try to accomplish too much in too little time. Here are some tips on managing holiday stress.

Christmas To-Do List

How are you doing on your Christmas to-do list?

  1. Are all your gifts bought?
  2. Did you buy the perfect present for each person?
  3. If you had to ship them, did they make it to their destination or are you still worrying about that?
  4. Did you cook all your family’s holiday favorites?
  5. How about those recipes you saw online or gracing the cover of a magazine? Did you cook them, but they didn’t look like the picture, and didn’t taste that great either?
  6. Have you been running from one commitment to the other-–holiday parties, children’s special performances, church activities?
  7. Did anyone in your family get sick?
  8. What about Christmas cards? Did you send one to everyone you should have? Did you write a personal note on each?
  9. Were your decorations perfect-–the latest trend? Or did the lights go out, the cat knocked your ornaments off, and the toddler ate pine needles?
  10. Did you overeat? After all, you have to taste everything you cook and all the delicacies at the parties you attend, just to be polite, right?
  11. Did your car or an appliance break?
  12. Have you had trouble sleeping, lying awake trying to remember everything you were supposed to do?

Do you just wish you could go away to somewhere remote and tropical and relax?

Side-Effects of Stress

It’s easy to get stressed out during the holidays. We try to do everything and do it perfectly and we wear ourselves out in the process.  But this is normal, right? What’s a little extra stress? Well, actually, stress can be more harmful to our bodies than you may realize, as these are a few of its side-effects.

  1. Headaches-–stress can cause headaches or make them worse.
  2. Heartburn—an increase stomach acid can cause heartburn.
  3. Heart stress-–stress increases your pulse rate, which puts extra stress on your arteries. This can lead to heart attacks.
  4. Blood pressure increases, which affects your heart, as well as other organs.
  5. Insomnia-–difficulty sleeping; therefore, you get less rest than your body needs.
  6. Immune system lowers, which makes you more susceptible to catching colds, flu, etc.
  7. Blood sugar elevation–-stress causes your liver to release more sugar (glucose), which over time can lead to type 2 diabetes.
  8. Shortness of breath-–stress can cause the muscles that help you breathe to tense up, making it more difficult to catch your breath.
  9. Backaches-–tense muscles can make your back ache.
  10. Stomachaches-–stress can make your stomach hurt and give you nausea or diarrhea.
  11. Hormone disruption—stress can interfere with your hormones and cause menstrual cycle abnormalities or low sex drive.
  12. Fatigue increases with stress.

Tips for Managing Holiday Stress

So how do you get everything done without the stress and its negative effects?

  1. Make a to-do list, prioritize it, and put a date by each item. Be realistic about how important the activity is and how much time it will take.
  2. Don’t try to keep up with all the latest trends or the neighbors. Be thankful for what you have and accept your own traditions as being enough.
  3. Give yourself permission to not do something. You don’t have to go to every activity that’s scheduled for the season. It might be nice to attend the tree-lighting in the square, but unless this is a tradition your children expect, you could skip it this year. And don’t feel guilty about not doing something!

You might need to have a discussion with your family about the first three things and let them know that everyone in the family will be happier when you are less stressed. Let them help decide which things are really important to them and which things they can do without.

  1. Take a breather. Go for a walk. Listen to soothing music.
  2. Get a massage.
  3. Go to a yoga or Pilates class. If you can’t do that, do some slow stretches at home.
  4. Try to maintain a healthy diet as much as possible. You don’t have to eat everything that’s offered.
  5. Take a good multi-vitamin and maybe add extra B12 and vitamin C.
  6. Focus on family, not things.
  7. Take a few minutes each day, preferably before you get busy, to read a devotion and spend time with the Lord.
  8. Focus on the true meaning of Christmas, which was not hurried, busy or fancy. Jesus was born in a humble way, and the only people on Earth who knew about it were a few shepherds, wise men, and his parents.

I remember when my children were preschoolers, and I ran around town all day trying to expose them to all the Christmas experiences that were available, from the Festival of Trees to seeing Santa at the shopping mall. Everyone, including myself, was tired before the end of the day when my oldest son, who was about five at the time, said, “Where’s baby Jesus?” I stopped dead in my tracks and thought of all we had done and everywhere we had been, and you know what? The baby Jesus wasn’t in any of it. The reason for the season was missing. I vowed to myself to make sure that never happened again. So when we went home that evening, we had a little visit with our humble nativity scene. I affirmed that Jesus was indeed the most important part of Christmas, and all those other things were just extra.

  1. Perhaps before you do anything else, pray. Ask God to help you stay calm and focused on what is important and do your part to have peace in yourself, your family, and your little corner of the world.

Merry Christmas and may the Peace of God sustain you throughout this holiday season!

Marilyn Turk writes historical and contemporary fiction seasoned with suspense and romance. She also writes for Guideposts Magazine and devotions for Daily Guideposts. She and her husband are lighthouse enthusiasts and have visited over 100 lighthouses. Check out her newest release, Abigail’s Secret. She’d love to connect with you on social media or her website:

Need tips to lose weight and troublesome symptoms? Sign up for my blog!

Leave a Comment

Need tips to lose weight and troublesome symptoms? Sign up for my blog!