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5 Easy Ways to Reduce Holiday Stress

by BetterSleep
Dec 24 • 3 min read

The holidays bring joy as well as added stress. High expectations, financial struggles, grief over lost loved ones, and pressure to get things done all contribute to seasonal stress. This year, stress levels may be at an all-time high with the added difficulties and isolation caused by the pandemic. Here are some things you can do to make this time of year more relaxed, peaceful, and enjoyable.

1. Set Aside Time for More Sleep

The sleep-stress cycle is a real phenomenon. Stress makes it more difficult to sleep, and inadequate sleep triggers more stress. Make more time for sleep to break the cycle. The holidays are a busy time, but sleep must remain a priority. Try soothing, guided meditations or bedtime stories on BetterSleep to relax your body and mind before bed. It will help you put aside the stress of the day, distract you from anxiety about the next day, and ease you into sleep.

2. Make a Holiday Budget

Money is one of the most significant stressors of the holidays, according to experts. You can’t make more money appear out of nowhere, but you can manage what you have to reduce stress. Set a budget for spending for the entire season and stick with it. The initial disappointment of being unable to buy everything you want will be offset by the relief you find from not worrying about money or credit card debt.

3. Just Say No

Setting limits with money is important, but you can also set boundaries with people and events. Don’t feel bad about saying no to a family dinner if you are worried about the spread of COVID-19. Don’t hesitate to say no to another gift exchange if you can’t afford it or don’t have time to shop. Sometimes, saying yes just creates more worries and expectations. Remember that it’s ok to say no.

4. Find Time for Exercise

It’s a good idea to maintain all of your healthy habits throughout the holidays. It’s easy to use the holidays as an excuse to eat junk food and to skip workouts because you don’t have time. In fact, maintaining exercise and healthy habits are more important than ever right now. You get bonus health and wellness points if your daily activity is outdoors, because sunlight is good for mood and will help you sleep better. Stress is both physical and mental, so by keeping your body healthy and relaxed, your mind will follow suit.

5. Let Go of Perfection

You may feel an expectation to match the holiday perfection you see in Christmas movies or on social media. Remember that what you see in the media is merely a fantasy, and trying to live up to this ideal will only add more stress and pressure. Accept imperfection and simply do your best. If your holiday meal doesn’t look Pinterest worthy, it probably still tastes great. Perfection is not necessary to enjoy the holidays.

As the pandemic continues through this holiday season, take this time as an opportunity to slow down. Stay at home, relax, let go of expectations, and rest up for a new year in 2021.

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