Strategies to Reduce Holiday Stress

By Linda Ziac

The Caregiver Resource Center

December 12, 2018



What activities, experiences and events bring you the most joy during the holidays?


The holidays can be a time of festivity, parties, shopping, entertaining, religious observances, family gatherings, and decorating. 


Between the extra demands we place on ourselves and the expectations of the season, is it any wonder that most of us feel some stress during the holiday season? 


When it comes to time, money, and social and family commitments, most people try to do too much.


To follow are some simple strategies that may add to your holiday enjoyment while helping to reduce your stress.





People tend to overextend themselves during the holidays. It’s not necessary to attend every party and religious celebration that comes along.


When allotting your available time, always choose quality over quantity.


Decide what activities you and your family would most enjoy doing and focus on those solely.


Share responsibilities for cooking and baking with others.


Learn to say “no” gently, but firmly to social events that don’t fit into your calendar.





Nothing creates more holiday stress than last-minute shopping and preparations.


Take charge of your holidays in advance by making lists of things to do and setting aside some time each day for them.


Consider setting a cut -off date so that things that haven’t gotten done will be deferred until next year.





A  holiday  feast  doesn’t  have  to  be  elaborate  to  be  wonderful.  Often  traditional  fare  is appreciated  most - with  guests  providing  some  of  the  dishes. 


When shopping, take advantage of gift wrapping services. Try shopping at home from mail order catalogs.


Let someone else compete for the “most fabulous holiday preparations” award.





Do holiday preparations strain your budget?


Learn to say “no” to expensive holiday ideas.


Choose simple, thoughtful, or useful gifts over elaborate, expensive surprises.


How can you enjoy the holidays if you’re worried about paying your bills?





It’s not necessary to test your bank and credit account limits each year. In fact, too many gifts for children can lead to unwelcome attitudes of self-centeredness, ingratitude, and boredom.


Wise parents realize that gifts of your love, time, and affection can’t be broken or fought over, so give freely of these and don’t worry so much about what is under the tree.





The holidays may be hard on your emotions. The holidays of your childhood may take on a magical glow that’s often impossible to recover in adulthood.


While the media and shopping malls are blaring messages of peace and joy, you may be dreading the family gathering that always leads to family fights and unhappy endings. If family gatherings are stressful, avoid long visits both away and at home.


Defer settling family arguments until another time. 


Be willing to let go of old traditions if they no longer work for your family, and explore new ones that make everyone content.


Where there are complex situations due to divorce and stepfamilies, be sensitive to the wishes of children. Ask them how they would prefer to spend the holidays.





Holiday gatherings are the perfect opportunities to share personal stories that bring a richness of experience to families. 


Tales of immigrants striving to establish a new life, remembering romances or adventures, and confessions of youthful escapades all help us to appreciate the fabric of our unique families.


There is a story to be told if you just ask and listen well.





Counter the holiday pressures by giving yourself some time for rest and renewal each day.


Avoid overindulgence in holiday food, alcohol, and caffeine.


Think about what the holidays are actually celebrating and try to stay true to that spirit.


Peace and joy can be more than just a commercial message.


Source: Parlay International



Photo from Microsoft


The information in this article is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information is not intended to be patient education, does not create any patient provider relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.


Please consult your health care provider for an appointment, before making any healthcare decisions or for guidance about a specific medical condition.




Linda Ziac is the owner and founder of The Caregiver Resource Center. The Caregiver Resource Center is a division of Employee Assistance Professionals, Inc. which Linda founded in October 1990. The Caregiver Resource Center provides a spectrum of concierge case management and advocacy services for seniors, people with special needs and families.


Linda’s professional career spans more than 40 years in the health and mental health field as a CT Licensed Professional Counselor, CT Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor, Board Certified Employee Assistance Professional, Board Certified Case Manager, and Board Certified Dementia Practitioner.  In addition, Ms. Ziac has 15 years of experience coordinating care for her own parents.


Linda assists seniors, people with special needs and their families; in planning for and implementing ways to allow for the greatest degree of health, safety, independence, and quality of life. Linda meets with individuals and family members to assess their needs, and develop a Care Team, while working with members of the Team to formulate a comprehensive Care Plan (a road map).


Once a plan is in place, Linda is available to serve as the point person to monitor and coordinate services, and revise the plan as needed. This role is similar to the conductor of an orchestra; ensuring that there is good communication, teamwork, and that everyone remains focused on the desired goal.

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