Tips to Help You Reduce Stress During the Holidays

I find myself in a constant battle with time and stress. I know I know, we all get 24 hours in a day and many make it work for them, but as the holiday season is full fledge upon us, I am constantly checking my calendar and clock, shaking my head at how busy I let myself become. 

Ladies, why do we do this to ourselves?

Why do we feel the need to say yes all the time?

You need an extra helper for the Christmas pageant at school? Sure! I’ll help you. You were wondering if I would host the block party this year? Yes, I can do that. It’s probably my turn anyways. I need to use my Shutterfly coupon code and get out those cards for once this year!

And the list goes on and on. The more I think about it, the more I realize that I let fear drive my decision to say yes. Fear that I will be judged. Fear that I will be looked down on. Fear that I’ll be viewed as inadequate. And THAT list could go on and on…

In attempt to shut down fear and make proactive decisions to maintain peace in the chaos of life, I have been making it a point to check my motives in saying yes and to lessen my stress for this time of year. Let me share with you tips that I have been using.

I would encourage you to look over what I’ve mentioned and see how you can tweak this to fit you and your needs.

(This post may contain affiliate links. All opinions are my own. Full disclosure here.)

Tips to help you reduce stress during the holidays. Ideas to lessen your stress during the holidays.

Setting Boundaries
This seems like a no brainer, but I recently read this UH-MAZING book titled Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life and it has literally changed my life. I think a lot of us have different interpretations of what the word “boundaries” means and this book dives deep into the meaning of boundaries and how there are so many we have in our relationship with others that I just can’t help but pass it along to you moms out there. It’s not a light-hearted read, so be prepared for serious evaluation of how you view yourself and others if you decide to read it. Trust me though, you should.

Boundaries are complicated but shouldn’t be overlooked just because it’s “the holidays.” Take a look at the limits and dynamics you have created in your relationships. Do they become stressful during Christmas time?

Telling others it’s OK to say no to me
I have started this practice recently (partly from reading the above mentioned book) and this practice alone has done something to me. By reminding others they can say no to me 1) sets them free from the pressure to say yes! And 2) by speaking it out loud I am sort of ingraining in my brain that it IS OK to say no too. Try it sometime. You might be surprised the effect it has on you and others.

Giving a single gift to my family members
I had to mention this to guys. I am the youngest of six kids in my family and all my siblings have kids of their own. When we ALL get together for the holidays, it’s like 30 people! I used to buy everyone a book for Christmas but since becoming a SAHM, I have had to limit our Christmas budget. This year I have decided to use online photo printing and photo books with Amazon since I am a Prime member who gets free shipping! They always have great deals going with sale codes you can pick right up from their site so that’s always a bonus too! You’re welcome! 🙂

Just the decision to simplify gifts by giving each family a photo book of some of our childhood memories has simplified my holiday shopping significantly and reduced a great amount of stress. What about you? How could you simplify shopping for your family members?


Prioritizing relationships
This is a time of year when you can easily plan a lot of nights out and catch up with friends. I have realized that for me personally, it’s the quality of friendships that brings me energy, not quantity. With that being said, I realized that I can’t say yes to every invite for a gift exchange if it means missing an intimate dinner with one of my mama friends who’s part of my village.

This is where saying no can be hard for many of us. I think it’s important to look at your relationships and evaluate the ones you hold close and want to stay connected to. The PTA Christmas party may have to hear a no from you this year. Or maybe the office party isn’t a great idea this year. I can think of a million reasons (or can I?) how it helps build my relationships in that part of my life, but if I haven’t seen my husband in over a week because of travels for business, then this may be a time to practice saying no.

I would encourage you to take a hard look at where you divide your time in your relationships especially with how quickly it goes during December!

Guarding my Gate
I love the image of the phrase “guard your gate” creates. I believe that what we put into our lives is what we’ll reap as our days progress. If I am constantly looking to social media for engagement, then I am building a false foundation of security for myself. If I am looking to that group of ladies who are quick to judge my Christmas party for validation in my mom life, then I am setting myself up for a stressful season.

While I love eating all the sweets and delicious food this time of year, I easily start to feel like crap before it’s even Christmas morning. And mamas, trust me, this is especially hard being a big o’l pregnant lady this year. But the food I put into my body is just another facet of guarding my gate to keep myself feeling healthy. What else could we guard about what we put into our lives this time of year to help lessen the stress?

At the end of the day, we are left with ourselves. It’s just us looking in the mirror and when I reflect on the decisions I made and the relationships I cultivated, I want to smile back at myself, knowing I stayed true to who I am and kept my peace, while loving others too. What about you? What would you add?


  • Nifty Betty

    I’ve been reading a similar book, The Best Yes. It’s been helping me say no to things to leave room for my best yeses. It’s so hard. But, so necessary. I will have to check out Boundaries.

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  • Saying NO is so so important! I have major FOMO so it’s not always easy for me 😉

  • These are some great tips. Especially allowing yourself to say no!

  • Rachel Golden

    Your advice is so on point! I’ve started letting myself say no to things in certain situations. In blogging, if someone wants to collaborate with me and it doesn’t fit my niche or enrich my readers, I turn down the offer. In my personal life, if I’m overbooking myself I start to prioritize what is actually important. It really has helped to alleviate stress 🙂

  • Samantha

    I love this advice! The holidays can be so stressful, even though it’s supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year.

  • Justine Y

    I love this post and the idea that sometimes less is more. Prioritizing and simplifying, especially during the holidays, is so important! This post goes perfectly with my Christmas series this year, #SimplifyingTheSeason! I’ll be hosting a linkup on December 26 and I’d love to see you there!

  • Crystal Gareau

    I absolutely love these tips. Thank you so much for sharing, the holidays are such a crazy time of year.

  • Ayanna

    Love this!!!! So many great tips and take aways. I have recently started prioritizing relationships. Although it was hard at first, now I get quality over quantity and more time at home with my family. I need to work on telling others it’s ok to say no to me more.

  • Hey Fitzy

    I love the term, “Guarding my gate!” What a friendly reminder to keep things in perspective.