7 Things to Let Go of to Stress Less During the Holidays

Ahhh, the holidays. The most wonderful time of the year, yes?  Sure! And for many, it can also be one of the most stressful times of the year.

The obligations, the “shoulds,” the shopping, shipping, cooking, holiday parties, writing cards, traveling, hosting, trying to see everyone you know before the year ends...all on top of your normal everyday responsibilities?

Of course these can be super fun and exciting! And I love the coziness that can come with this time of year.

However, if you’re finding yourself completely drained or on the verge of exhaustion, here are seven ideas that could help:

1.  Let go of the idea that everything has to be perfect.  It’s okay to let some things drop off your to-do list, prioritize, delegate, or re-work your ideas. When there's a lot on your plate, it’s not the time to let your perfectionistic streak take over. It’s okay to do what you can without driving yourself crazy obsessing about every last detail having to be perfect. Yes, we can of course strive for excellence; be careful not to run yourself ragged in the process.

2.  Let go others’ expectations of you. You don’t have to (and won’t) please everyone. This is a time to remember to stay true to yourself. It’s absolutely okay if your great Aunt Sally – whom you may see once a year – does not approve of what you do for work or where you live or who you’re seeing. There will always be (well-intentioned) folks who will feel the need to pressure you to -- fill in the blank -- get married, have (more) children, get a different job, etc. Take a deep breath and know that all is well, you’re where you need to be in life.

3.  Let go of the underlying belief that you need to put your needs on the back burner in order to get everything done. Quite the opposite is true. You’ll be more productive and complete tasks with a sense of calm and ease when you take care of yourself. So go ahead and be sure to schedule that massage and give yourself permission to take time out for a relaxing bath complete candles, soothing bath salts, essential oils and aromatherapy.

4.  Let go of the notion that all of your well-being practices have to go out the window because it’s the holidays. (This goes along with number 3.) Sure, while you may eat foods you may not eat the rest of the year; it’s also good to be mindful of how you want to feel. If eating too many sweets or drinking too much alcohol or caffeine ultimately makes you feel gross – physically and/or mentally, be mindful of your choices. Everything in moderation, yes?

5.  Let go of the idea that you have to impress others – or spend a lot of money in order to impress others. People who are important to you love you for being YOU, not for how much you spend on material things. Stay within your budget and get creative to let YOU shine through.

6.  Let go of the belief that you have to say yes to every invitation. For real, if you've followed me for a while, you likely know that I agree to the notion that saying no is sometimes saying yes to yourself. The holidays are a great time to continue to practice healthy boundaries. It’s okay to schedule a time after the New Year to see friends and family. Oftentimes people end up enjoying their time together much more without the hectic pace of the holidays.

7.  Let go of the thought that the holidays may not be the same as “the good ‘ole days.” This is a tough one. Times change. While we can appreciate great memories, we don’t have to get stuck in the way we perceive how great times used to be. When we accept people and situations as they are without comparing to how they once were, we’ll be able to be PRESENT and enjoy much more easily. Today may be different, not necessarily worse or better.


How do you incorporate self-care during the holidays?  Let us know in the comments below!

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