Holiday stress can ruin the time for parents, kids, and families. That’s why holiday stress management should be on the top of your list—and we have 10 Christmas stress busters that we learned from the Frozen movie (legit!) plus a FREE holiday stress workbook that will even help beat holiday homeschool stress!
DEALING WITH HOLIDAY STRESS
STRESS TIPS FROM THE FROZEN MOVIE
It’s around this time each year that we start Christmas movie nights and Frozen always seems to make it into the rotation.
One night, as I was curled in a fetal position in my dark closet clutching my ears and screaming, “NO MORE! I DON’T WANT TO BUILD A SNOWMAN!” I realized that I was not handling holiday stress well.
As I sat up, wiped away that ugly, snotty cry, and stuffed a cookie in my mouth, the track changed over in my head and I thought, “Just let it go!”
Just like that I created my very first holiday rule from some Frozen songs.
And now, I’m gonna share those holiday stress tips with you (so you don’t have to curl up in your closet).
You can print out this list and keep it in your coat pocket — you know the pocket, the one with the tissue lint, sticky Starlight mint, 10 tiny acorns from the nature hike, and a cookie with one bite taken out and wrapped in a napkin that your kid didn’t eat at the homeschool meetup 17 days ago.
Yep, that pocket.
Then, you have the rules handy to refer back to (because holiday stress takes emergency prep, yo).
Whenever you feel yourself on the edge this holiday season, hide from your kids and eat that lint-covered, coat pocket cookie and repeat these rules to yourself.
DON’T MISS YOUR FREE HOLIDAY STRESS WORKSHEETS PACK AT THE END OF THE POST! KEEP SCROLLING!
But, before we get to those holiday tips, be aware of how that holiday exhaustion starts to creep in, let’s talk about why is Christmas so stressful…
What is holiday stress?
Holiday stress is that additional feeling of stress that comes from packed schedules, unusual diets and increase in sugar, unrealistic expectations, and the extra financial pressure that comes from buying Christmas gifts and extra expenses during this time.
What Causes Holiday Stress?
Here are the main holiday stressors. Once you’re aware of them, you can put a plan in place to reduce the stress surrounding these areas and work on how to survive holiday stress!
- Change in diet
- Change in schedules
- Stretched budget/finances
- Family issues
- House guests
- Anxiety and depression
How do you relieve stress during the holidays?
Holiday stress activities for families and holiday stress tips for parents:
- Reduce outside activities to a minimum during holiday months
- Get lots of rest (allow kids to sleep in!)
- Do calm activities like holiday crafts with calming holiday music
- Do some yoga for holiday stress relief (or stretching) / holiday stress meditation and prayer
- Go on a holiday hike
- Volunteer and help others
- Play holiday stress relief games
- Work on a family holiday puzzle
- Have a holiday dance party
- Decorate Christmas cookies
- Don’t go overboard on sweets (which can affect moods in kids especially)
- Spend time apart in different areas of your home!
Don’t forget to ask your family what kind of stress buster activities they want to try!
So, how do you beat holiday overwhelm and holiday stress and anxiety as a parent?
Get Frozen, my dear child, get Frozen … with these tips on how to handle holiday stress!
(Who knew Anna and Elsa were good for holiday stress tips how to manage, huh?!)
Onto the stress tips for the holidays!
10 Holiday Stress Relief Tips for Saving Your Sanity During Holidays
Here’s how to beat holiday stress of Christmas.
We’ve given them a little holiday stress funny humor twist, but these are legitimate holiday stress tips, too!
(Who doesn’t love a little holiday stress humor?)
Holiday Stress Buster Rule #1: JUST SAY NO (and then don’t feel guilty about it).
(I put that title in all caps mainly to remind myself, but feel free to use the caps if you need them in your own overbooked holiday schedule.)
For the first time in forever, Nothing’s in my way! -Lyrics from Frozen, For the First Time in Forever
Little Becky doesn’t need 15 different shapes of sugar cookies for the homeschool Christmas party when just two shapes will do.
(Heck, let’s be honest, one will do. Go with the Christmas tree cutout because the Santa face cutout never bakes with enough detail anyway.)
It’s easy to overcommit during the holidays because that dang holiday spirit swoops in and squeezes your heart until one tiny teardrop of volunteering guilt slides down your cheek and you choke out, “Sure, I’ll volunteer.”
RUN AWAY FROM THAT LIGHT.
It’s OK to say “NO” during the holidays and not feel guilty about it. (It’s one of the biggest tips on how to manage holiday stress!)
Holiday Stress Buster Rule #2: Let it go.
Let’ it go! That perfect girl is gone! -Lyrics from Frozen, Let It Go
(You saw this one coming, right?)
A big way to manage holiday stress is to let go of the things that don’t matter for the big picture at the holidays.
Is making your bed too much right now?
Let it go!
What about cooking a big breakfast?
Let it go!
Too many outside the home classes?
LET IT GO, GIRL. LET. IT. GO.
And, while you’re letting it all go, belt out the song just to make yourself feel better and to make people back away from you. (It works. Trust me.)
Remember, perfection is overrated anyway and letting that go is high on the how to avoid holiday stress list!
And for the love of all that is good, stay away from Pinterest and Instagram for holiday stress! (Pssst: Those are staged pictures, y’all.)
Holiday Stress Buster Rule #3: Pick your battles for one of the major holiday stress reducers.
Everyone’s a bit of a fixer upper. That’s what it’s all about. Father, sister, brother. – Lyrics from Frozen, Fixer-Upper
Holiday stress relationships fights are really a thing!
This time of year is not the time to get into a fight with your mom about what a freeloader your deadbeat niece is and how she’s sponging off the family fortune or how your husband never takes out the trash before work.
If you need a scale to rank importance use this:
Uncle Jimmy’s opinion on homeschooling?
Not important (and tell him to stop adding to your homeschool holiday stress).
Someone taking your last brownie that you’ve been thinking about all day?
Lastly, remember that no one is perfect.
We’re all a bit of a fixer upper (except you, you’re absolute perfection).
ALSO CHECK OUT:
Holiday Stress Buster Rule #4: Build a snowman.
Do you want to build a snowman? Come on, let’s go and play -Lyrics from Frozen, Do You Want to Build a Snowman?
Do you want to build a snowman?
Heck yeah, you do!
Take time to get outside during the holidays.
Did you know that spending just 15 to 30 minutes outside each day gives you a huge dose of Vitamin D, reduces stress and depression, and even wakes you up by naturally shutting off your melatonin?
And, you don’t really have to build a snowman . . . unless you really want to (we won’t judge).
You can even bring the kids if you want.
Holiday Stress Buster Rule #5: Take time for yourself (before someone loses a limb).
A kingdom of isolation; And it looks like I’m the Queen -Elsa, Lyrics from Frozen, Let It Go
OK, I’m just going to say it: you need to be the Queen/King of Isolation in your Holiday Kingdom.
If you don’t take time out for yourself, you will lose your freaking mind…which makes it really dangerous with all those breakable ornaments and candles around.
Holiday Stress Self Care Tips:
- Take a walk.
- Go to the 24-hour store ALONE at midnight. (It’s awesome. Trust me.)
- Have quiet reading time with coffee/tea.
- Sit in your car alone with holiday music playing while the kids are at a class or activity.
- Lock yourself in the bathroom and…do nothing.
Holiday Stress Buster Rule #6: Bite your tongue.
Don’t let them in. Don’t let them see. Be the good girl you always have to be. Conceal. Don’t feel. Don’t let them know… -Lyrics from Frozen, Let It Go
It’s a shame, but being with a bunch of different personalities during the holidays will start to test your limit.
I mean, how many more times do we have to listen to creepy Uncle Jimmy tell us that our kids will be freaks because we’re homeschooling?
Or, have Nana list out how we’re bad parents?
Want to know how to reduce holiday stress? Stuffing your mouth with holiday cookies will prevent you from blurting out what you’re really thinking, resulting in Uncle Jimmy’s wife taking her tuna casserole and waiting in the car.
(I found that those little tree shaped butter cookies with the red sprinkles work really well for this.)
DON’T ENGAGE IN THE PETTINESS OF THE HOLIDAYS.
Remind yourself: In the scheme of things, Uncle Jimmy’s input and Nana’s judgment really have no bearing on how you run your family. Roll your eyes and move on. (Or, just walk away in the middle of the conversation with no apologies. Try it. It really shuts people up.)
Holiday Stress Buster Rule #7: Relax on the rules.
It’s time to see. What I can do. To test the limits and break through. No right, no wrong. No rules for me. I’m free! -Lyrics from Frozen, Let It Go
Nobody (and I mean nobody) likes a big party pooper during the holidays, so relax a little on the rules.
Table a mess with holiday crafts?
Do the kids want to stay up a little later binge watching holiday movie classics?
They’re all hopped up on those sugar cookies anyway…and that’s why God created earplugs and sleep masks (for you, not them).
Holiday Stress Buster Rule #8: Cool it on the cheese (and other holiday treats).
Don’t know if I’m elated or gassy; But I’m somewhere in that zone. -Anna, Lyrics from Frozen, For the First Time in Forever
You’re going to be eating a lot of things during the holidays that you probably don’t eat on a regular basis. (And, holiday stress eating is a thing, too!)
It will make you soooooo happy.
It will also make you moody, queasy, tired, and yes, gassy.
Be selective about what you (and the kids) eat so that you don’t upset that fine body balance too much.
Some treats are OK.
(We’re not monsters here…)
But again, you don’t need to be feeling all wonky inside to add to the stress going on outside.
Holiday Stress Buster Rule #9: Stop obsessing over those who hurt you over the past year.
Yeah, people will beat you and curse you and cheat you. Every one of em’s bad, except you. -Lyrics from Frozen, Reindeer(s) are Better than People
Let go of your mother-in-law’s snippy comments here and there.
Stop glaring at homeschool mom Sally because she forgot to include your kid in the party.
(You did, after all, miss the last seven meetings.)
(Well, some people. Not us, clearly.)
But, holding onto all that anger is only hurting you.
(Sally is losing zero sleep over it. Trust me.)
Time to let it go.
Holiday Stress Buster Rule #10: Don’t forget to have fun!
For the first time in forever. There’ll be magic, there’ll be fun. -Anna, Lyrics from Frozen, For the First Time in Forever
You guys, I can be THE WORST at this during the holidays.
(So maybe you shouldn’t pay attention to this list after all…)
I get laser focused on accomplishing what needs to get done and forget the meaning and fun behind the season.
One year, in a fit of stress and exhaustion, I actually said to my daughter, “We are going to make Christmas cookies and you will have fun. Do you understand?”
(Oh yes I did.)
Don’t be like me.
You should be like Anna from Frozen, though.
She’s looking forward to the fun so much that she’s singing about it.
(What the heck?)
**If you or someone you know is dealing with serious holiday depression, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255. Help is available!
We hope you found our holiday stress tips funny AND helpful! Don’t forget your holiday stress handout!
FREE HOLIDAY STRESS CHECKLIST WORKBOOK
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