December 10, 2015

Five Ways to De-Stress the Holidays

Heidi Milton

We’re counting down the days and the “to do” list seems endless.  There are gifts still to buy, boxes to ship, baking to do… and not enough hours in day.  Sound familiar?  If the schedule and stress of the holidays is robbing your joy of the season, I’ve got five ways I “de-stress” the holidays every year.

1.  Decorate early. 

I don’t mean right after Halloween, but I try to get my holiday decorating started (and sometimes finished) by Thanksgiving weekend.  I love a decorated home for the holidays — even a simply decorated one.    And when I’m all ready to go by December 1 (Dec. 10 at the latest), I can enjoy the fruits of my labor every day throughout the season.

christmas mantelDecor & More

2.  Use your early mornings. 

Seems impossible, right?  During the holidays, I set my alarm 20 to 30 minutes earlier than usual.   I might use that time to sip coffee and read, make my “to-do” list, knock out a few Christmas cards, or just enjoy the quiet.  Starting the day quietly with a deep breath or two makes a huge difference in my mindset for the day.

3.  Use your time in the car. 

What?  Look at how you spend your time in the car running errands or sitting in the carpool line.  Maybe some soothing classical music or a funny podcast can de-stress you a bit (here are my favorites).  Or — just maybe — you could sing Christmas carols at the top of your lungs.  Just a thought. 🙂

4.  Don’t short-change your exercise routine. 

I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know — exercise is one of the best ways manage stress.  If I don’t have time for a full-blown session at the gym or my usual hour-long power walk, I look for a Plan B.  Can I walk to deliver that plate of goodies to my neighbor?  Is there yard work I can tackle for 20 minutes?  Maybe my husband will join me on an after-dinner walk in the neighborhood to look at the Christmas lights?  Those little things add up to help keep you on track and active during busy times.


5.  Spend time with friends and family. 

Make spending time with loved ones a priority.  Choose that girlfriend brunch over yet another trip to Target.   Or better yet, have her bring her gifts over and you can help each other wrap and catch up at the same time.  Schedule that family dinner and make it non-negotiable.  Don’t be afraid to say “no” to other obligations in order to be with the ones you love.  You will never regret the time spent with them.


The holidays should be a joyous time, so stay alert to those things that rob you of your joy.  Send New Year’s cards instead of Christmas cards if you have to… the world will keep turning and you just might save your sanity.

What are your favorite holiday stress-busters?

Find more home, holiday, and DIY on my blog Decor & More.

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