Holiday stress? Here are 5 fun ways to de-stress this year. </p>
<p>Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Fighting crowds at the mall to score the perfect American Girl Doll? Orchestrating cards for teachers, neighbors, friends, family, clients, and mail carriers? Baking cookies and trying to figure out a perfect white elephant gift for the holiday office party?

The holidays can be stressful!

We can lose sight of the whole point of the winter season by getting wrapped up (sorry, not sorry for this bad pun) in gift buying and pot lucks. And that's not even mentioning the holiday stress our families can cause.

So, let's take a step back, breathe deeply, and look at 5 fun ways to de-stress this holiday season.

5 Ways to Deal With Holiday Stress

1. Escape and Change your Scenery

We can get stuck in our own stress like a quick sand swamp if we stay in whatever situation was stressing us out in the first place.

Let's say your parents are stressing you out. Or you're getting frustrated at a pie that's just not turning out right. Or maybe you can't even handle the mall this year.


Get out of there. Make an excuse if you have to and just get the hell out.

Change your scenery to change your perspective on whatever was stressing you out.

You need a moment.

2. Breathe

I legit hate it when people tell me to breathe when I'm stressed out. Nothing riles me up like someone telling me to engage in an autonomic function when I already have flames on the side of my face.

But, for some reason, it's not so bad when I tell myself to breathe.

Instead of reacting out of frustration, anger, or stress, Take a few breaths.

There's no hurry. Or at least there doesn't have to be a hurry. Take control of things, take a few breaths, and force yourself to slow down.

You need a moment.

3. Connect with your Surroundings

When we get stressed out, we tend to get tunnel vision. Or sometimes almost no vision at all. We get so wrapped up (I did it again. I hate myself.) in our negative, stressful thoughts that we stop seeing what's actually going on around us.

So, force yourself to see again. I love to play the improv-inspired exercise called Call It Like You Sees It. 

It's simple. You just point to things you see and call them by their name. Out loud is best.

"Table." "Lamp." "Store." "Skylight."

This forces you to take stock of the world around you, which should be a nice break from all those stressful holiday thoughts. need a moment.

4. Calgon Take you Away

Another way to deal with your holiday stress is to visualize you're somewhere less stressful and altogether more magical. Anywhere else, really.

Let's say you're fighting holiday traffic just to get to your in-laws' house. So, you're stressfully questing just to get to somewhere...stressful.

Visualize that you're on a warm beach or dipping your feet in a relaxing pool or sitting by a cozy fire.

Or in that luxurious Calgon bubble bath.

It may not be permanent. And it may not be real life, but visualizing can help you calm down and relax in the midst of whatever's stressing you out.

After need a moment.

5. Be Grateful

Stress begets stress.

So if you find yourself stuck in a stress cycle, try to break it by reminding yourself what's awesome about your life and what you're grateful for.

Gratitude can help you regain perspective.

Final Thoughts on Holiday Stress

I will say that sometimes stress is a sign that we need to make a change. So, if your holiday stress is bigger than just traffic and the mall, you may need to take more than a moment. You may need to take more definitive action and make some significant life changes.

And of course, if your feelings of stress are significant, persistent, or feel insurmountable, reach out to a licensed professional for help.

The winter holidays happen but once a year, so try to breathe, give yourself breaks, and maintain a positive perspective this year.

Take that moment if you can get it.