There’s a sweet spot when the holidays are picture-perfect — there’s holly jolly music on the radio, the smell of cookies in the air, and lights covering everyone’s homes. And then, the stress sets in. Suddenly, you’re worrying about what presents to buy everyone in your life. You have to bake a million things and have family coming to visit and have to drive in a blizzard to get to your grandma’s house. The holiday stress never ends because there’s always so much going on. However, there are plenty of self-care tips that can help you deal with this stress as you aim to conquer the holiday season.


Once you feel the holiday stress start to hit, make sure you have a plan in place so that you can calm down and actually enjoy the holidays. Because there really is so much to enjoy, and you shouldn’t miss out on this special time of year. Remember: the holidays are about spending time with those you love. That’s really all that matters.

1. Get yourself a present for the holidays.

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As you get ready for the season of giving, why not give yourself a gift? And better yet, make sure it’s a gift that will help you keep calm when holiday stress kicks in. It could be a calming tea (like kava) in a cute mug, a lavender lotion, a journal for unwanted thoughts, or even an essential oil that’s meant to help put your mind at ease.

Any time you’re feeling stressed, step away from whatever is going on and bring out your stress tool. Allow it to help you have a moment of self-care.

2. Make sure you keep moving.

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Connie Bennett MSJ, CHHC, CPC, writes on Psychology Today, “Research shows that physical activity not only boosts your fitness and energy levels but can also elevate your moods. In addition, exercise has been found to reduce anger, tension, fatigue, and confusion.” So grab your yoga mat and hand weights for some quick, in-home exercises you can easily and quickly do whenever the stress becomes too much.

3. Decorate in ways that make you happy.

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When you’re decorating your home for the holidays, make sure you’re doing it for you — not for others. Yes, you want it to look cute and cozy, but make sure you’re doing that in a way that makes you smile. After all, you’re the one who has to live there full-time.

Maybe that means you hang fairy lights all over the place or put up some snowflakes that make your apartment feel like a winter wonderland. You can also buy a warm, fuzzy blanket to cuddle with or a decorative pillow with a happiness-inducing holiday saying on it.

4. Use humor to keep things light.

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As holiday stress takes over, it can feel like there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. Even the simplest tasks begin to feel overwhelming. Once this starts to happen, make sure you lighten the mood. “Take care of yourself and try relaxation and self-soothing techniques regularly,” writes, Susan J Noonan, MD, and author of Managing Your Depression. “Use humor to distract your mind – a funny book or movie often works wonders at these times.”

5. Take time to actually enjoy the holidays.

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Make sure you’re not just focusing on gift-giving and hosting and prepping for parties. As the holidays approach, take time to actually participate in holiday activities. Go ice skating, binge a bunch of holiday movies, make gingerbread people, prepare homemade hot chocolate, or take some time to knit a cute winter hat.

If you don’t have a planner, consider getting one that will allow you to schedule out time for yourself. Because if you don’t make the time for yourself, then no one will.

6. Grab some comfy PJs to encourage yourself to rest.

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If you have a lot on your plate this holiday season, you may be likely to stay up late looking for the perfect present or baking a last-minute treat for your party guests. Instead, why not encourage yourself to go to sleep by gifting yourself a comfy pair of holiday pajamas? To make your sleep even better, you can also snag an eye mask and some pillow spray. Oh! And don’t forget the cute slippers or fuzzy socks. You really need to have the complete look.

7. Take a bath!

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To relax your mind, Michigan Medicine recommends that you soak in a warm bath. While you’re doing so, you might as well add in some Epsom salts (especially if they’re lavender scented) to relax your muscles. You can also light a holiday candle, put on a face mask, play soothing tunes, and read a good book. There’s really a lot of power in a warm bath that gives you some necessary self-care time.

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