Holiday Stress Reduction Tips For More Peace, Joy, and Connection

Holiday Stress Reduction Tips For More Peace, Joy, and Connection

The holidays can be a time for peace, joy, and connection with the ones you love. For many of us, that means spending time with family members and friends who we have not seen or talked to in a while. While these moments of catching up with our loved ones are nice for some, for others it can be challenging. Below are some tips for management of stress associated with the social pressures that may arise during the holiday season.

Don’t compare

Your life is unique, so don’t measure your worth by comparing yourself to those around you. This has become much too easy to do with social media and the accessibility it provides to the most “picture-perfect” curated aspect of others’ lives. Take some time to reflect on your own accomplishments and how far you have come in your own life.

Positive people

Choose to spend time with optimistic and happy people to be surrounded by their positive energy. Be attuned to whether the energy of another person lights you up or drains you. Use that information to inform how much time you spend in their presence and check in with yourself to see how being with them makes you feel.

Approval of others

It is important to follow your own dreams and desires. Stay true to your own heart and try to avoid getting bogged down with the need for outside approval. People pleasing can take a toll on one’s health and sanity, so do your best to refrain from engaging in that empty pursuit.

Time to listen

Active listening helps you soak in the wisdom of others and allows you to quiet your own mind at the same time. Intense listening can help you feel content while helping you gain different perspectives. Practice the art of listening well and resist the urge to interrupt with what you want to say next.

Nurture relationships

Healthy personal relationships are a key to happiness so be sure to make time to visit with the most important people in your life. Find ways to spend meaningful time together, whether it is through an unstructured, casual visit or by engaging in activities together that everyone enjoys.


Research shows that meditation helps you keep your mind focused, calms your nerves, and supports inner peace. FMRI studies show it can even lead to epigenetic/physical changes in your brain that actually makes you feel more at peace. Find some time to meditate if you feel overwhelmed during holiday gatherings. Download a meditation app on your phone to facilitate this process if you do not already have a meditation practice established.

Eat well

What you eat directly impacts your mood and energy levels in both the short and long term. Eating for health can prime your body and brain to be in a focused, happy state, while overeating and consuming processed junk foods will leave you sluggish and prone to physical health issues. During the holidays, it is about finding a balance between treating yourself so as not to deprive, while still keeping your health-oriented goals in mind. A balanced diet promotes both physical and emotional wellness.


Exercise brings about surges of health-promoting brain chemicals that buffer the effects of stress and can also relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression. In addition to the many health benefits of exercise including weight management and disease prevention, it also improves mindset and promotes feelings of overall wellbeing.

Personal control

Avoid letting other people dictate the way you live. Instead, establish personal control in your life that allows you to fulfill your own goals and dreams, as well as a sense of personal self-worth.


Everything in your life is not going to be perfect and that is ok. Happy people learn to accept situations that are unplanned as well as setbacks in their life that are beyond their control. Instead, they shift their energy to changing what is within their control in order to live a better and more meaningful life.

Dr Anna Eng