Season's Healing: 5 Tips to Reduce Holiday Stress

Young woman drinking tea by the Christmas tree.

This time of year, nature’s crisp beauty invites us to unwind, embrace family and friends and renew connections that help sustain us. Here are a few ideas on how to tap into the season’s healing bounty.

  1. 1. Stress Less

    Give yourself space — and grace. Try:

    • Not saying “yes” to all that is asked of you.
    • Making realistic holiday plans and to-do lists and learning what you can “let go.”
    • Breathing deeply and slowly before starting each new task.
    • Refreshing your coziest spot at home — with a soft chair, warm throw, fire logs or a candle, and a place to rest your head.
    • Setting aside time for a book you’ve been meaning to read or show you’ve wanted to watch.
  2. 2. Mind Over Matters

    No matter what you’re doing, be present. Try:

    • Noticing the details that make up one of your favorite places.
    • Stretching to reach a falling leaf and crumbling it in your hand.
    • Indulging in only your absolutely favorite treats — and experiencing their taste, smell and texture fully.
    • Giving someone your complete attention.
    • Gazing at the stars or looking for shapes in the clouds.
  3. 3. People Power

    Connect with your whole heart. Try:

    • Turning shopping or cooking into a pairs or team event.
    • Scheduling a festive lunch date or a walk outdoors with someone new.
    • Sharing a favorite food or recipe with a friend or co-worker.
    • Retelling a favorite memory at a gathering or in a holiday greeting.
    • Enlisting a friend to help you rake leaves or build a snowman.
  4. 4. Giving Thanks

    Note blessings big or small. Try:

    • Listing objects that comfort you. Think about your morning coffee, a favorite meal, a pair of snuggly socks or a warm, chunky scarf.
    • Smiling as the winter sun shines on your face.
    • Jotting down all the things that went right today.
    • Savoring the abundance of food at a local market (and taking a bite of a perfect apple!)
    • Thanking someone for making your life better.
  5. 5. Rest for Your Best

    Replenish both body and mind. Try:

    • Sticking to a regular sleep schedule of seven to nine hours per night.
    • Renewing your stamina with exercise, yoga or a good stretch.
    • Closing your eyes for a few minutes at work.
    • Scheduling “me” time to relax with a hot bath or cup of tea.
    • Snoozing one afternoon, for no good reason.