How to survive the holiday season when you are busy and get stressed out easily

Does the thought of the holidays stress you out? You already have a full schedule and this time of year can bring out the best and worst in you with all the additional events, cooking, planning, shopping, and generally making sure everything goes off without a hitch. Not to mention trying to fit into those clothes that have been sitting in the closet or going shopping for new clothes…because that’s always fun – NOT.

Here are 5 tips to conquer the holidays, show it who is boss and actually feel blissful:

Master Your Time.

“For fast-acting relief, try slowing down.” – Lily Tomlin

One way we find ourselves in overwhelm is over-committing to things. This can cause overwhelm pretty quickly and thus creating a cycle of feeling out of control, frustrated and feeling like you need to work overtime to get everything done.

Here are three tips to master your time and focus on the right things during the holidays:

  • Take a few minutes each day and determine what must get done today or nothing else matters. Another way to think about this to think of your to-do list and put all the balls in the air. Now, imagine the high priority balls are glass and the low priority balls are rubber. Which ones do you juggle to ensure only the glass balls stay in the air?
  • Write down your priorities. Getting everything on paper (or your technology device) and out of your head can relieve stress and help you focus.
  • Remember, NO is a complete sentence. Here’s a powerful article with 25 ways to say no with grace and more ease.


Plan Ahead.

Sometimes, when we have so much to do, we procrastinate. We may get okay results by waiting until the last minute to do something but at what expense to our health? When we procrastinate, we create a vibration of delay. Is that the energy you want to create?

Take your ta-da list and create a schedule and put it in your calendar. If you have a significant other, discuss the list and how you can work together and balance the load (or at least make it more like 70/30 instead of 90/10).

The truth is when we plan ahead of time to do something important; we create space for more good to come to us. We are also more productive. Bonus!

Practice Gratitude.

“Gratitude is the foundation for developing your greatness and is key to living your life with passion, peace, and joy.” ~ Tandy Elisala

Gratitude is a big theme over the holidays and for it to really impact your life, it needs to become more than just a holidays word.

When we practice giving thanks for all we are and all we have we give ourselves the chance to see life as a blessing. Gratitude balances us and gives us hope.


Here are three ways to incorporate gratitude in your life and help create better memories:

  • Keep a gratitude journal in which you list things you are thankful for.
  • Practice gratitude around the dinner table or make it part of your nighttime routine. Go around the room and have everyone share what they are grateful for each day. Alternatively, you and your partner can each share one thing you are grateful for about each other.
  • Create a gratitude jar practice. There are all kinds of ways you can do this and make it fun for the family. When my kids were growing up, everyone wrote down one thing they were grateful for each day and put it in the jar and we had a monthly gratitude family meeting where we took turns reading each one and shared more about the experiences. This was a powerful tradition for our family.

Exercise Self-Care.

This sounds simple and you logically know self-care is important. Maintain your self-care practices during the holidays to minimize stress and enjoying each moment. Here’s 40 simple self-care ideas to consider:


Create Family Traditions

What family traditions do you have each year? For us, it was the homemade cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning. It was church service and everyone opening one present Christmas eve. Whether it’s food, religious, family photos, game, activity or any other traditions, make that a focal point.

If you don’t have holiday family traditions, now is the time to create one! Ask your older relatives about their life. Documenting and sharing life stories is a great way to create a legacy and engage the family. Here’s an article where I share 9 ways to engage and preserve your family legacy (and more):

About the Author

Tandy Elisala

Tandy Elisala is passionate about helping family caregivers navigate taking care of their loved ones without the overwhelm or losing themselves in the process. Tandy went through cancer four times and learned how to heal using conventional and alternative therapy. She now teaches what she learned on her journey. Tandy is a family caregiver coach and cancer empowerment advocate, a multiple best-selling author, inspirational speaker, host of the Empowered Family Caregiver Podcast and Daily Dose of Hope Podcast and mom to three adult kids, one angel dog and one diva cat. Get your free Quick-Start Guide to Conquer Overwhelm

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