How to cope with stress over the holidays –the most stressful time of the year.


It doesn’t come as a surprise to me that more women are stressed over the holidays than men.

On top of the ‘usual’ workload of looking after the family and working, women generally shoulder more of the responsibility for organizing the holidays, gift shopping, planning meals, decorating, cooking, to year-end holiday parties and activities.   A recent survey by the American Psychological Association bears this out.   44% of women said that they were more stressed over the holidays than men at 31%.

So, what is supposed to be a joyous time with family and friends can wind up being exhausting and stressful.  Stress can also affect your health.

Here is what I recommend to help you get into the holiday spirit without triggering stress and anxiety.

  1. Create a to do list and then simplify it. If long line ups in the stores wears out your patience and creates anxiety–do more of your shopping on line.
  2. Share tasks. I recently was at a holiday gathering for nineteen, where one of the adult sons made the stuffing and cranberry sauce, while the other son bought the pies and ice cream. And everyone helped set the table and pitched in doing the dishes.  We tend to take on too much and often don’t ask for help. This year, make that one of your holiday resolutions.
  3. Be realistic.  It doesn’t have to be the perfect holiday.  Focus instead on the things that are important.  Cut back on things that are nice but not necessary.
  4. Learn to say ‘no’.  It’s ok to say no to certain events.  If it cuts into your time for the things that are a priority, says no and save your energy and time for the things that count and make your feel good. Women often have difficulty saying no, as we often simply want to please. Saying no can happen in 3 easy steps: open your mouth.  Politely decline, say no thanks, no, it just doesn’t work for me. Close your mouth. Don’t say you’ll try, or maybe as that does not reduce your stress.  Merely say no to whatever, which truthfully means you are saying yes, to something else, something more important for you right now.
  5. Relatives– If you have a hard time being around relatives, set time limits for those visits.
  6. Be mindful.  There is no doubt that practicing mindfulness is a big assist during stressful times.  Mindfulness means that you stay in the moment without judging yourself rather than your mind bouncing around in a thousand directions.  Mindfulness is also considered good for heart health.
  7. Take Time for Yourself. This is one of the most important things you can do both during the holidays and throughout the year. .  We tend to do more for everyone else, than we do for ourselves. That can stress our bodies as well as our minds.  Take time to go for a workout, a long walk, quiet time, even a nap far from the madding crowds.


If any of these tips work for you this holiday season, why not make them part of your New Year’s resolutions. Happy Holidays !!!



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Top Ways to Manage Stress & Lead a Healthier Most Positive Life


A few more tips..Part 2

We all have stresses in our lives…but if those stresses are positive and stimulating, we are productive, interesting and ultimately satisfied.   It is also important to recognize that stress that can be overwhelming but if you adopt the appropriate strategies you will be able to cope and conquer stress.

Here are a few more tips to manage stress.

Change your behaviour

Get organized—poor organization is one of the most common causes of stress. Prioritize your objectives and your duties and activities to make them more manageable and achievable.  Good organization will help to avoid personal and professional chaos and protect against “out of the blue” problems.

Vent–A problem shared is a problem halved. Develop a support network through friends or colleagues to talk with. It’s not always events that are stressful but how we perceive them. Often friends add new perspectives that could lessen your stress.

Use humor—cliche as it might seem, laughter is the best medicine. It is a good stress reducer at home and at work and it relieves muscular tension, improves breathing, pumps those good endorphins into the bloodstream.

Take time out—Get away from things that bother you and give yourself time to reduce your stress level and calm down to think logically.

Be assertive

Assertiveness helps to manage stressful situations, and will, in time, help to reduce their frequency.  Lack of assertiveness often shows low self – esteem and low self – confidence.

Time Management  

Make a list.  What MUST be done vs. What SHOULD be done vs. What would you LIKE to do? Cut out time-wasting and unimportant activities. Learn to drop unimportant activities

And JUST SAY NO.  Plan your day. Set achievable goals. Don’t waste time making excuses for not doing something

Change your lifestyle

Diet.  Nutritional stress is actually a major type of physical stress in today’s 2.0 world.  Are you eating chemically and toxin loaded food and expecting your body to cope? Are you smoking and drinking too much caffeine and alcohol?

Exercise.  Exercise.  Exercise.

Exercise uses up excess energy released by the “Fight or Flight” reaction. It helps improve blood circulation and pumps those feel good endorphins into your bloodstream. We are less stressed, less fragile, when we feel strong and healthy.


Sleep is essential for adequate brain function. Often when people are stressed they lose sleep. One great way to purge your body of stress so your mind can relax is to learn progressive muscle relaxation and deep muscle relaxation techniques. Meditation is also a valuable tool to relax your body and quiet your mind — it can easily transition you into sleep.