Managing Stress This Holiday Season!

10 Quick Tips for Managing Stress This Holiday Season (and Always)!
by Robyn Hussa Farrell, MFA, E-RYT
With the holidays upon us, life can quickly become stressful.  Though it is a positive stressor for some people, the holidays can also be a time of great turmoil for others.  This holiday season, try staying on top of large and small stressors alike by implementing any (or all) of the below techniques!


  1. Understand that you are not alone — we all have stress!  In 2016 the American Psychological Association published their survey on “Stress in America” and found that (a) 25 percent of Americans concede that they wish they managed stress more effectively; (b) 7 in 10 Americans say that they have someone they can ask for needed emotional support, but they still need more; (c) Millennials and Gen Xers do not feel they are doing enough to manage stress.
  2. Practice and teach self-care to your friends and family.  Self-care can be done through large and small ways — from taking five minutes to make sure you have a peaceful, nourishing meal to spending 30 minutes walking outside – there are simple self-care strategies that can be incorporated into our daily lives.
  3. Get a full night’s sleep.  According to the 2014 Sleep Health Index report: (a) 24% of women reported they woke up feeling well-rested ZERO days out of the past 4 days; (b) 35 percent of Americans report their sleep quality as “poor” or “only fair;” (c) Only 15% of teens reported sleeping the recommended 8.5 hours on school nights. 
  4. Practice journal writing each day or each week.  According to studies by Dr. James Pennebaker at University of Texas, journal writing for 2 minutes has shown to reduce anxiety, improve our immune system and manage stress.
  5. Connect with community!  Be a mentor, role model or volunteer.  Dr. Ginsberg from University of Pennsylvania has found that – despite extremely adverse childhood experiences – having just ONE solid role model in the life of a child can make a positive difference in their life.
  6. Take brain breaks each day:  10 seconds.  One minute.  Five minutes.
  7. Download the free Sharpen App and try the mindfulness, stress management and resiliency builders!
  8. Share your feelings!  Often a good amount of our stress relates to mixed feelings and emotions associated with family gatherings or interpersonal relationships.  Research has shown that the more you are able to talk about your feelings, communicate through conflict, and put your feelings into words … the more you improve your social and emotional health and make sadness, anger and pain less intense.
  9. This holiday season, get in the habit of turning off electronic devices at least one hour prior to bed time.  This will assist in decreasing the stress caused by social media and news activity, it will allow your mind to wind down and decompress, and will decrease the blue light rays that have shown to suppress melatonin levels (melatonin is a hormone that helps control your sleep levels).
  10. Write down one thing for which you are truly grateful each evening before bed.  Try to reflect on that gratitude and write about it for at least two minutes.  Repeat this activity each day and enjoy the many benefits of practicing gratitude.