Navigating the Holidays: 10 Tips for Adults to Manage Stress and Enjoy the Season

by Hilary Davis | Nov 1, 2023

The holiday season can be a time of joy, celebration, and togetherness. However, it can also bring stress, anxiety, and overwhelming emotions. For many adults, navigating the holidays can be challenging, especially if you’re dealing with various responsibilities and expectations. In this blog, we will explore some valuable tips for adults to help manage stress and find enjoyment during the holiday season.

 1. Set Realistic Expectations

One of the primary sources of holiday stress is setting unrealistic expectations for yourself and others. Remember that perfection is not necessary. Instead, focus on creating meaningful moments and connections. Understand that not everything will go as planned, and that’s perfectly okay.

2. Prioritize Self-Care


Amidst the hustle and bustle, don’t forget to prioritize self-care. Take time for yourself, whether it’s a few moments of meditation, a warm bath, or a walk in nature. Make sure you get enough sleep and maintain a healthy diet to keep your energy levels up.



3. Manage Your Time Wisely

The holiday season often brings a flurry of activities and commitments. Make a schedule and stick to it, but also be prepared to say no when necessary. Overloading your calendar can lead to burnout and increased stress. Prioritize events and activities that matter most to you.

4.  Set a Budget

Financial stress can be a significant burden during the holidays. Before you start shopping, create a budget that outlines your spending limits for gifts, decorations, and entertainment. Stick to your budget to avoid post-holiday financial worries.

5. Embrace Mindfulness

Take a walk outside to ground yourself in nature.

Mindfulness techniques can help you stay present and reduce stress. Practice deep breathing exercises, meditation, or yoga to stay grounded during hectic moments. Mindfulness can also enhance your ability to appreciate the beauty of the holiday season.




6. Communicate Openly

Effective communication is crucial during the holidays, especially when dealing with family dynamics and potential conflicts. Be open and honest about your feelings and expectations. Set boundaries if necessary and address any issues calmly and constructively.

 7. Seek Support

If you’re feeling overwhelmed or experiencing holiday blues, don’t hesitate to seek support from friends, family, or a mental health professional. Talking about your feelings can provide emotional relief and valuable perspective.

 8. Create New Traditions

Traditions can be comforting, but they can also become sources of stress if they no longer work for you. Consider creating new traditions for yourself and/or your family that align with your current values and circumstances. This can help refresh the holiday experience and make it more enjoyable. For ideas on creating new traditions take a look at our list below: 

Creating New Thanksgiving Traditions

Creating-New-Thanksgiving-Traditions.pdf (52 downloads )

 9. Practice Gratitude

Write a note to someone in your life to let them know why you appreciate them.

The holidays are an excellent time to reflect on the things you are grateful for. Make a gratitude list or take a moment each day to appreciate the positive aspects of your life. Making space for a daily gratitude practice can shift your focus from stress to contentment. If you have children, watching adults modeling gratitude helps them to learn and incorporate gratitude into their own lives. For tips on how to talk to your children about gratitude check out our blog post here.  

10. Volunteer and Give Back

Contributing to the well-being of others can be immensely fulfilling during the holiday season. Consider volunteering your time or making donations to charitable organizations. Acts of kindness can bring a sense of purpose and joy.

In Conclusion

Navigating the holidays as an adult can be a rewarding experience with the right mindset and strategies. By setting intentions and practices in advance, you can reduce stress and find more joy in the holiday season. Remember that the holidays are about connection, gratitude, and giving, so embrace the moments that matter most to you and your loved ones.