Creating the Holidays with Less Stress, More Meaning

The holidays are just big. Are they not? Big excitement, big anticipation, big expectations, big celebrations.  At the same time, they can create big stress, big fatigue and even, dare I say, big regrets. Overindulgence is common around the holidays, and a bit of that is even okay.  But a little preparation, a little self-examination might just be the ticket to a season with a bit more intention and a few less transgressions.

Staying Healthy in Body and Spirt During the Holidays

Here are a few practical suggestions to keep to a healthy routine despite the many temptations as well as a few more thought provoking ideas to create a season with a bit more meaning:

First, some of the more practical solutions:

1.  Sip the sniffles away.

Tis the season for sneezes and coughs. Keep your immunity strong by sticky to a healthy diet most of the time and maybe even starting a healthy night time drink ritual (of the non-alcoholic kind). Try this one when winding down for the evening.

2.  Avoid too much junk.

Planning a big shopping trip?  Pack some healthy nibbles like these or this before you go so you are not tempted with all the mall junk.  An antioxidant-rich smoothie packed in a to go cup is another good idea and keeps you hydrated.

3.  Eat first.

If you have a holiday event on the calendar, consider having a small bowl of soup like this one before you leave so you won't overdo on the calorie laden, unhealthy appetizers and party grub.

4.  Get outdoors. 

Exercising outside is great for you but even just a few moments of stepping outside to load your lungs with fresh air and looking to the sun to soak in the pure unadulterated Vitamin D is important, too.

5.  Create a laugh.

With so much going on, things are bound to get off schedule.  We are sure to forget something or make a misstep.  Try to laugh it off, and create a chuckle. (It is a good example for our children, too - handling stress and mistakes with a more light-hearted and forgiving manner.)

6.  Play music. 

And turn it up. Play some oldies that have meaning for you, holiday tunes to get you in the spirit or whatever reflects your mood at the moment.

7.  Get lost.

Immerse yourself in a favorite activity. Tune everything else out for a bit. Play the piano, cook a beautiful meal, wrap a special gift, enjoy an intense conversation, go for a great run. Lose track of time and be better for it.

And on to a few deeper considerations or even a few more challenging suggestions:

8.  Check in with yourself.

Make choices on the meaning the holidays have for you this season. Maybe, you want to make it your traditional holiday all the way.  Or perhaps an extended family gathering has been planned with relatives a far that allow you to focus time on family you rarely get to see.  Or, maybe this year you choose to make it a quiet one as you have suffered a loss and need space and some solitude. And, still yet, the season could hold something in-between.  Not every Christmas or every Hanukkah has to feel the exact same year after year.  Our lives change.  Our situations change, and sometimes that change requires a holiday adjustment.

9.  Notice others.

Reach out to someone else at this time to make his or her life better.  Just look around. You can't miss it.  People are suffering and do something about it.  It can be as simple as a kind word or as grand a gesture you want to make it.

10.  Review the mail.

If you are lucky enough to receive lots of invites, really think before accepting all of them.  Do not overdue the party circuit as you may get overworked on the social scene.  Make sure you balance all the social with some low down time that feels right to you. This brings me to the next consideration.

Create your best holiday season with much less stress and much more meaning. Practical tips and thoughts to get you towards a more peaceful and beautiful holiday for you.

11.  Plan time alone.

Step away from all the fa-la-las to decompress and to ensure you are not in reaction mode to every holiday demand. This could include regular meditation, a solitary walk in the woods, a church service in the middle of the week, a sauna session or even a long hot bath.

12.  Go tech-free.

Put down the phone and the computer even for a few hours to allow your brain a repose from the constant stimulation as well as the interruptions.

I am sure you have some great ideas to add to the list.  Please do and share what you think helps to stay healthy and create more meaning this time of year.

treebranch-photo credit: <a href="">Silver2Silicon</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>
trees-photo credit: <a href="">pmorgan</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>
photo credit: <a href="">lada/photo</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>
trees-closeup:photo credit: <a href="">Matei D.</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>
music: photo credit: <a href="">mollyjolly</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>


  1. So many great ideas here! Sometimes amid all the hustle and bustle, it really is too easy to loose sight of the true meaning behind all our preparations. Thanks for these great tips to help us stay focused on what really matters!

  2. Hi Shelley -- So glad some of these suggestions resonated with you! Wishing you a beautiful and meaningful holiday season!

  3. Yes!!! :) That is my goal this year, to make the holidays more about celebrating the meaning, instead of getting stressed about trying to include every tradition.

    1. Good for you, Emily! I bet you will enjoy the season a whole lot more! Thanks for stopping in.

  4. 2 years ago I totally changed my perspective about the holidays and it made a huge difference. It IS possible to have a stress free holiday. I'm planning on this being year 3 of a no stress holidays.

    1. That is great, Jill. If you are able, let us know your best tip!

  5. I'm definitely working on spending more time tech free!

    1. Technoligy is great but it can suck you in if we are not careful! Good for you for keeping check on it.

  6. What a great post full of positive tips that I am sure we can all do with. Each one of those things could add to us having an awesome holiday season and beyond. Thanks so much for your contributions to Fridays Blog Booster Party. I am looking forward to seeing you at the Blogger's Pit Stop rally on Friday with more of your posts.

    1. Happy it resonated with you, Kathleen. It can be an overwhelming time of year if we allow it too much. Happy Holidays!

  7. I need to try your drink for keeping the sniffles away. We moved across the country 6 months ago and now I am catching all the knew germs. Thank you for the suggestions.


    1. I do hope they can help, Jen. Perhaps since you are in a new area, it could be allergies that are causing your sniffles. New exposure to various flora or even mold or other new things might be aggravating it.