’Tis the Season to Treat Yourself Kindly During the Holidays

By: Hanna Marshall | Category: Special Interest | Issue: December 2021

There is great excitement for many when it comes to the holiday season. We think about spending time with family and friends, assembling the decorations, and even cozying up with a blanket and some hot chocolate. However, this is often met with an equal amount of anxiety and worry as we pontificate over all the items that need to be crossed off our to-do lists. Sometimes society can make us feel that if we don’t have the perfect gifts or have the prettiest decorations – Pinterest, anyone? – then we have somehow failed altogether. Here are some practical tips to help you combat stress this holiday season:

Slow down.

Take a moment to remember your why. This time of the year is meant to be full of laughter, quality time, and gratitude so make this the focus. All the gifts to purchase, the parties to attend, the food to prepare, and the decorations to put up are meant to be fun and joyous occasions. Instead of thinking about all these as tasks to be done, try shifting your perspective toward gratitude. Start by being grateful for the family or friends that you have the opportunity to gather with.

Make a list and check it twice.

If you are overwhelmed, try making a list to help you prioritize what needs to get done and when. Organize the list based off timing, and check items off as you go. It might be helpful to include personal time for yourself on the list as well so that you don’t neglect your needs in the process. Getting plenty of sleep is one of the most effective ways to reduce anxiety.

It’s not that serious.

It’s easy to stress over buying the perfect gift for everyone in your life, but it truly is the thought that counts when it comes to loved ones. They will appreciate the gesture. Try giving them something personal or creative because sometimes the best gifts aren’t the most expensive.

Ask for help.

This is easier said than done, I know. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. I’m sure a family member or friend would be happy to bring the ham to dinner this year. A lot of times people feel better if they are able to chip in so let them! If shopping for gifts is distressing to you, maybe try inviting a friend to go along and make it a fun day together. If you are struggling, share your feelings with a trusted confidant or counselor.


Sometimes we can get so wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of our own lives that we forget about others. Take a moment and give of your time or resources, whether that be with a friend or family member who has gone through a loss or even to a local charity. After all, connection and relationships are what really matter in life.

Be sure to extend grace to yourself and those around you. It is normal to feel stressed around the holidays, but it’s how we respond to that stress that will determine our health and happiness surrounding the season.

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