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  • Writer's pictureMarcy Kocher

Holiday Stress

“… It’s the hap-happiest season of all.”

But is it?

It’s possible with some focus on mindset.

Holiday stress. The struggle is real.

Because the holidays require us to do, keep track of and pay attention to more on top of our already full lives, our brain can go into self-protection mode and create the feeling of overwhelm.

We have thoughts about our holiday responsibilities.

Some are positive and create good feelings, but if some are focused on some version of “this is too much.” your brain will create the feeling of overwhelm.

The purpose of overwhelm is to slow you down. Overwhelm is your brain’s way of protecting you.

However, we typically don’t listen to the wisdom of our emotions, and we push through, creating stress, exhaustion, and often resentment.


If you would like to experience the holidays from a place of peace and ease this year, I have a few suggestions on managing “too much.”

Start with the end in mind.

Be intentional.

What kind of meaning do you want to create?

What do you want to feel?

What do you want your family or guests to feel?

What do you want them to say about your time together?

What will make it extraordinary?

Decide as much as possible ahead of time.

Decide how much money you will spend, how much you will eat, how you will spend your time, and why? Work on this until you like your reasons.

And, because others expect it from me, is not a good reason.


Write down a master to-do list.

Getting everything out of your head and onto paper will give you mental space, clarity, and energy.

Evaluate it.

Do you want to do everything on the list?

Did you know you don’t have to?

Is there anything you can delete or delegate?

Decide when you will do it.

After you have a manageable, realistic list, put each to-do in your calendar/planner.

Be prepared to stick to your decisions and say no to interruptions and distractions.

Take care of yourself.

Downtime is not only okay; it’s necessary. Your brain needs rest just like your body does.

Include it in your to-do list and put it on your calendar.

Get enough sleep. Maybe even more than enough. It’s winter, and it’s normal to sleep more.

Get outside. Yes, even when it’s cold. Bundle up. Nature naturally calms and refreshes us.

Focus on eating nourishing food. Focus on what’s healthy and good for you. You need nutrition now more than ever.

Allow and enjoy treats but plan them ahead of time.

Listen to music. Music can instantly shift our mindset, mood, and energy.

Don’t take things too seriously, and laugh as much as possible. It’s so good for your brain and your body.

Be nice to yourself.

Be realistic with your expectations for yourself and others.

Be compassionate. This is a stressful time for everyone.



Done is better than perfect.

Let the rest go.

You have enough. You’ve done enough. You are enough.

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