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How to Reduce Holiday Stress With Mindfulness and Rest

Relaxed women resting during the holiday season

From office parties to family gatherings, hurried shopping trips to rich, sugary treats – the holidays are typically a time of more, more, MORE.

We’ve been told the holidays are the most wonderful time of the year. Yet, for many, this time of year brings more stress, more commitments, more expectations and more expenses than the rest of the year. The more of all this results in less joy, less meaning, less mindfulness and less rest during the holidays.

But, what if it didn’t have to be this way? What if you made the holidays a time for "less" instead?

This holiday season, instead of getting wrapped up in the holiday hustle, consider how a few simple changes can help you slow down, reduce holiday stress and have a mindful celebration.  

Why are the holidays so stressful?

Woman wearing a holiday sweater and wrapping gifts but looking very stressed outWoman wearing a holiday sweater and wrapping gifts but looking very stressed out

Holiday stress can come from just about anywhere. The American Psychological Association reported that nearly 40% of people feel increased stress over the holidays – and that was before the pandemic! So, why all the stress?

Financial burden and expectations from family are some of the top causes of holiday stress. Many people feel pressure to give the perfect gift, prepare the perfect meal, plan the perfect party, wear the perfect outfit – the list goes on. You may also feel financial pressure to buy gifts for everyone or to travel far during the busiest time of year when you’d much rather stay home.

Parents often feel added stress to make every moment magical for their children. For many people, the end of the year is also the busiest time at work. For some, the holiday could mark the first big celebration without a loved one who’s passed away. The holidays can quickly become a blur that’s over before we even had a chance to enjoy it.

6 Mindful ways to reduce holiday stress

Holiday stress manifests just like day-to-day stress does. You might experience anxiety, depression, insomnia, headaches, irritability and so on. Don’t let holiday stress steal your holiday joy this year! Being present is actually the ultimate present. Here are 10 mindfulness tips to help reduce your holiday stress:

Woman writing a gratitude list to reduce holiday stressWoman writing a gratitude list to reduce holiday stress

1. Practice gratitude and kindness

The simple yet powerful practice of gratitude and kindness will carry you a long way during the holidays. Instead of writing your list of wants and wishes, write a gratitude list and feel thankful for all the things you already have. This will help keep you grounded and centered through the season. Additionally, the holidays can be hard on a lot of people. Be kind, even to the grinches!

2. Limit technology

Technology has this sneaky way of stealing our time and ability to be fully present. It’s tempting to want to post all of your holiday fabulousness on social media, but try limiting your use of technology during this season. You may even save some money not constantly being bombarded by sales and promotions!

Bonus! Blue light is pretty terrible for sleep. Limiting screen time can also help you get the deep, restorative sleep you need to fully recharge over the holidays.

3. Learn to say no

Learning to say no is hard for most people in general but may be even harder during the holidays. However, saying no to holiday commitments and expectations will help you feel less burdened and stressed. Only commit to things that actually bring you joy and not that you feel pressured to do.

4. Stick to your budget

It can be way too easy to go over your holiday budget – especially with the convenience of online shopping. It’s extremely important to stick to your budget, though, even when your impulse to overspend comes from wanting to make someone else happy. A firm budget will significantly reduce your holiday stress and may even inspire you to find more creative, sustainable gift ideas.

Man and woman looking over their bills and holiday budgetMan and woman looking over their bills and holiday budget
Woman with a towel on her head and cucumbers over her eyesWoman with a towel on her head and cucumbers over her eyes

5. Plan ahead

Managing work, holiday activities, shopping, meal preparation and more requires a lot of organization. Planning ahead by writing everything down or keeping a detailed schedule will help you prioritize and not spread yourself too thin. You may not think of the term “Excel sheet” when you think practicing mindfulness, but don’t knock ‘til you’ve tried it!

6. Nourish yourself

The holidays can be hectic but be sure to still make time to nourish yourself in whatever ways work best for you. Eating breakfast, sipping something warm, going for a walk, taking a bath, journaling and slowing down to rest are all great ways to nourish yourself through this season. In fact, we have a bunch of simple self-care ideas – some that take as little as five minutes!

Of course, don’t forget the power of a quick nap and the deep restorative benefits of getting quality sleep at night.

Seriously, prioritize sleep during the holidays!

Sleep is one way the very best ways to combat stress. Unfortunately, sleep tends to fall to the wayside during the holidays when we have more social events and indulgences. Traveling, having house guests or being a guest at someone else’s home can also interfere with our usual sleep routine.

Even a couple nights of less than awesome sleep can result in:

  • Exhaustion
  • Raw/brittle emotions
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Unhealthy food cravings
  • Unsafe driving
  • Decreased immunity
  • More stress!

Celebrating with “less” helps the planet, too

Mother and son enjoying a simple, quiet holiday togetherMother and son enjoying a simple, quiet holiday together

A season of more like the holidays tends to also create a season of excess and waste. The increase in electricity usage from lights and decorations, the travel emissions, the wrapping paper, the leftover food – all of this impacts the environment during the holidays. Minimizing your commitments, consumption and spending can not only decrease your stress during the holidays, but it can also help the planet.

The truth is, we really don’t need to go everywhere, do everything, and have it all for the holidays. Less can actually create more – more memories, more mindfulness, and more meaning.

Give the gift of organic sleep

What if you could help a loved one (or yourself) and help the planet … and knock some gift items off of your never-ending list – all in one go? Happsy has you covered! What could be more refreshing than the gift of organic sleep?

Shop our holiday sale to save big on our certified organic mattress – made without petrochemicals, flame retardants or other nasty chemicals that can harm your health and the Earth’s. We also offer organic bedding, pillows and other sleep accessories that deliver comfy-cozy, organic sleep.

It seems each year speeds up but remembering to rest more, stress less and slow down can help make this holiday season your most memorable one yet. We hope implementing these mindful practices will make your holidays extra special and stress-free!