10 Tips to Transform Holiday Stress Back to Joyfulness

By: Pamela Scanlon

When I was a child, I loved Thanksgiving. We would spend the whole day playing with our cousins and enjoying all the best comfort foods. One of my favorite parts of the day was Thanksgiving morning. At 9:30 sharp, we’d turn on the Macy’s Day Parade. But it wasn’t the floats or the musical performances that were the big allure for me. The parade signified the official start of the holiday season, a jovial celebration of the onset of Christmas.

I still remember feeling like the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas took forever. But as a child, the anticipation made the holiday season even more exciting. We’d fill that time with holiday activities that created lifelong memories that still bring me joy.

As an adult, especially nowadays, the Macy’s parade can feel more like a bullhorn sounding at the start of a race rather than a welcome invitation to a party. Ready or not, it’s on!

What was once holiday anticipation most would now describe as holiday anxiety. We’re all so busy as it is, then we add on all the holiday to dos and it can feel downright dizzying. The upside is that things calm down a little after the New Year. The downside is that if we’re not mindful of how we manage the holiday madness, it’s can pass us by before we’ve had a chance to truly enjoy it.

I created this list of tips to help slow things down so you can rekindle more of that child-like anticipation and experience more joy this holiday season.

10 Tips to Transform Holiday Stress Back to Joyfulness

  1. Decorate your house as early as possible to prolong the season.
  2. Reframe the language around your to-do list. This season only comes once a year. And no matter how stressful or busy it can be, it’s still a magical season. Try using the phrases, “I get to,” “I want to” or even “I’m going to” rather than “I have to.” Doing so can neutralize any negative energy you feel toward your list of tasks. It can even shift daunting chores to little blessings.
  3. Give yourself a few moments each night to check in on your to-do list so you feel organized and on top of your game. Then try saying a little gratitude prayer for all the things you’re in the position to do to make this holiday season memorable for your loved ones.
  4. Shop a little bit each day to keep anxiety at bay.
  5. Spend a little time researching what holiday activities you want to do with your family and friends. Put them into your calendar to keep that time protected. Set a reminder so you don’t forget about them (I wrote this one for me).
  6. Turn your favorite holiday tunes on every chance you get.
  7. Fill your home with your favorite holiday scents. Take some long, relaxing breaths to enjoy them, allowing stress and anxiety to melt away.
  8. Start each morning by setting an intention for how you want to feel. Close your eyes, breathe in the feeling you want to experience (engaged, joyful, happy, relaxed, loving). Sit with that feeling for a few moments, and exhale.
  9. Smile, smile and smile some more. If you don’t feel like smiling, smile anyway! Smiling releases mood-enhancing hormones that will help keep you in the holiday spirit.
  10. Prioritize your daily wellness practices. You’ll enjoy the holidays more if you’re engaging in practices that keep you feeling good physically, emotionally and spiritually.


Holiday BONUS Tip: It’s easy to get off track with your workout routine during the holidays. Staying on track will actually enhance your holiday season by giving you the extra stamina you need to make it through this busy season. Even more, it will help you burn off those holiday cocktail and cookie calories!

For more articles and resources about nutrition, fitness, self-care and more, check out my website and blog at www.wellroundedwellness.com. If you have questions or need support, email me directly at pamela@wellroundedwellness.com.

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