8 Ways to Reduce Stress During the Holidays

If you get stressed out during the holidays, here are some practices to put in place to help you focus on the real reason for the season. Eight Ways to Reduce Stress During the Holidays will help you enjoy the true meaning of the season. 

The snow pelted the open window as smoke filled the kitchen and dining room. The high-pitched beeping from the smoke detector mocked me with every beep. “You burnt the cookies again. You burnt the cookies again!” Over and over, it mocked me. Tears welled up as I, once again, ruined another Christmas tradition. 

This Christmas was going to be the perfect Christmas, I thought to myself. 

8 Ways to Reduce Stress During the Holidays

So perfect, it was going to be like a Hallmark Channel Christmas movie. The vision of my family and I sitting around the table, laughing, icing the cookies, and listening to Christmas music dashed away as quickly as Santa’s reindeers. 

Hearing a commotion in the doorway, I turned around to see my family staring wide-eyed at me. I couldn’t tell if it was a look of concern because I was crying over burnt cookies or if it was because they had thought I’d lost my mind. 

My tears turned into sobs as I tried to explain that I had ruined the perfect Christmas I had envisioned. To my shock and dismay, my husband and two sons burst out laughing. They revealed to me their true thoughts on my culinary skills. While I could cook, my baked goodies were far from stellar. Every year, they choked down my cookies because they didn’t want to hurt my feelings.

It was the truth I needed to hear. As a result, I can now publicly declare that I am not a baker. That day, my family put things in perspective for me. The stress of having the perfect Christmas impeded the joy and happiness of what Christmas is truly about. 

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8 Ways to Reduce Stress During the Holidays

It’s About the Gift of a Savior and the Love of a Father.

From that Christmas on, instead of focusing on the secular side of Christmas, I focus on the true meaning of the Christmas season. Not only does this reduce stress, but my focus now shifts to my spiritual health, which helps me enjoy the holidays even more. 

If you are stressed out during the holidays, here are some practices that I put in place to help me focus on the real reason for the season.

Eight Ways to Reduce Stress During the Holidays

  • It’s Ok to Say “No.” In the last two months of the year, our calendars are filled to the brim with family gatherings, school programs, and other festive activities. Everyone is busy, and we may be asked to take on additional responsibilities. One of the most important things that I’ve learned is that it’s ok to say “no.” If someone asks me to do something that will cause additional stress in my life, I don’t commit to doing it. It’s hard to tell someone that you cannot fit another thing on your calendar, but my health and well-being need to come first over anything else.
  • Rest! Rest! Rest! I remember when my boys were toddlers and how they fought naptime. Exhaustion eventually won out. The same thing can be said for us, friend. Fatigue will ultimately win, so enjoy a good nap. It’s refreshing, and your body and soul will thank you for it! 
  • Try Not to Overindulge. With the holidays comes all the delicious holiday food. While it’s ok to nibble here and there on your favorite dessert, don’t overdo it. The high intake of sugar can cause us to feel sluggish and out of sorts. No one wants to see us tired and cranky! Increased water intake is a must during the holiday season. The recommendation is eight glasses of water a day. 
    1. Let it Go! Traditions are important to us. However, if the thought of doing it this year is causing stress, it’s ok to skip that tradition. Your family will thank you for it. And in my case, they don’t have to eat burnt cookies anymore!
    2. Laugh a lot! As the old saying goes, “laughter is good for the soul.” Sometimes having a good belly laugh is all that it takes for a mood shift. You can watch your favorite comedy, movie, or visit with family and friends. So do whatever you need to do to laugh until the tears are streaming down your face!
  • Turn to Your Savior. When you feel the stress and anxiety of the holiday season start pressing in on you, turn to Jesus and cast all your cares and anxieties on Him. Matthew 11:28-30 (ESV) tells us, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Jesus is waiting for us to come to Him and hand our burdens over to Him. Have a moment of silence and solitude and focus on Jesus. Rest in Him! 

8 Ways to Reduce Stress During the Holidays

  • Pray: The holiday season is the perfect time to set aside time to pray. We have an open line of communication with God, so let’s talk to Him!  If you don’t know where to begin, start with ACTS—Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication, and Silence. Adoration—focus on the attributes or characteristics of God. We can worship the Lord by acknowledging His greatness. He is Almighty, Counselor, Deliverer, Faithful, Father, Holy, King, Lord Most High, the list can go on and on. Confession—Use this time to confess your sins and ask God for forgiveness. What is confessed is between you and God and no one else. Thanksgiving—Thank God for answering prayers. Thank Him for the people in your life. You can even thank Him for finding your keys and not being late for your appointment or getting the kids to school on time. Thank Him for sending His Son for us! Supplication and Silence—Use this time to make your prayer requests known to God. Pray for your family, yourself, our country, and anything else that comes to mind. After making your prayer requests, sit in silence for a while. Listen for the whispers of the Lord.
  • Study Scripture: Dig into the Word! Nothing feeds your soul as much as reading the Word of God. A great way to engage in reading the Bible is to read the Gospel of Luke. From Jesus’s humble beginnings to His ministry to His death and resurrection, Luke gives a beautiful account of the life of Christ. It’s twenty-four chapters long, and if you read it daily, beginning on December 1, by December 24th, you would have read about the life of our Savior. You can also listen to the Bible as you travel to visit family and friends. Many Bible apps can read the text to you. This is a terrific way to be enriched with the Word of God. Not only will you benefit from hearing the Word, but so will your passengers. 

I hope these tips will help you enjoy a stress-free holiday season. Blessings to you! 

About the Author

Missy Eversole is an author and speaker from Morton, Illinois. She is a wife to Craig and mom to Grant and Connor. She enjoys family time and the laughter that comes with it. Missy is a contributing blog writer for Proverbs 31 Ministries’ Online Bible Studies, COMPEL, Kingdom Edge Magazine, and the Dawn app. In addition, she is the author of Transformed, Not Conformed: Embracing a Life-Changing Approach to Spiritual Habits. She writes about faith and family weekly on her blog at www.missyeversole.com.

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1 thought on “8 Ways to Reduce Stress During the Holidays”

  1. With stress being so prevalent during the holiday season, knowing what can be done to bring this down goes a long way. Great tips that not only individuals but families can use to make this time of year more enjoyable.


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