How to De-Stress During the Holidays

The holidays are filled with fun and cheer, but can also bring on stress for some with all the entertaining, cooking, visiting family and friends, shopping, and eating. Finding ways to cope with stress helps make the season more enjoyable so you can really feel the holiday spirit. Read on for ways to de-stress during the holidays.

Plan ahead:

Being with family and friends whom you have not seen in a while and want to impress with cooking and gatherings can bring on stress. Leading up to the holidays, set aside days to relax and prepare for the busy times ahead. Create shopping lists and make time to clean the house.1 Stay on track with your nutrition and health goals by preparing meals and snacks that fit into your routine.2,3 Also, make sure to get enough sleep so you can better deal with these stressful situations.3 

Keep a journal:

Keep a list of things that need to be done and check off when each task has been completed. You can even journal your feelings or thoughts around upcoming events. If you are already keeping a food journal you can combine the two together. 

Listen to music:

Playing relaxing music can help you cope with stress.5 This could include spa music, rain sounds, white noise, and others. Find what works best for you!

Try meditation

Meditation can help you relax, gain skills to manage stress, reduce negative thoughts, and feel a sense of calmness- all which can benefit your health. There are many ways to meditate including guided meditation, mindfulness meditation, mantra meditation, and more.7 You can find a class in the area, use an app on your phone, or try YouTube videos. Even focusing your attention on breathing can be a great technique. Try setting a goal for yourself such as incorporating a meditation technique that works well for you a few days a  week.4

Make Time for Exercise:

You might be busy around the holidays, but make time for movement that feels good! Exercising increases endorphins, which can boost mood and decrease stress and anxiety.5 You can go for a walk, use a workout app, go to the gym, take a group exercise class, or do a YouTube fitness video. There are so many fun ways to fit in physical activity without it being time consuming. Try inviting a friend to join in to keep each other accountable, or try a yoga class. Yoga can reduce stress and help with enhancing mood.6 Just do something you really enjoy! Check with your doctor before starting a new workout program.

Speak to a friend or family member:

Reach out to a friend or family member and tell them how you’re feeling. Sometimes talking to someone can be beneficial and help take away some of the stress.1 


  1. Mayo Clinic Staff. Stress, depression and the holidays: Tips for coping. Mayo Clinic. 2017. Available at: Accessed November 10th, 2019. 
  2. Break the bonds of emotional eating. MedlinePlus. 2018. Available at: Accessed November 12th, 2019. 
  3. Why stress causes people to overeat. Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Health Medical School. 2018. Available at: Accessed November 12th, 2019. 
  4. Mayo Clinic Staff. Meditation: A simple, fast way to reduce stress. Mayo Clinic. 2019. Available at: Accessed November 12th, 2019.
  5. Legg, TJ. 5 Ways to Reduce Holiday Stress. Healthline. 2016. Available at: Accessed November 10th, 2019.
  6. Yoga: Fight stress and find serenity. Mayo Clinic. Available at: Accessed November 11th, 2019.

Authored By Nicole Parello, MS, RD, CDN