10 Ways to Survive the Holidays Stress-Free

The holidays can be a stressful time for many people. Here are 10 ways to survive the holidays and keep them stress-free!

How to survive the holidays stress free

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The holidays can be so stressful for some of us. All the shopping and cooking and cleaning and wrapping presents. And don’t forget all the holiday events going on. It’s impossible to do everything and not get a little stressed out!

Black Friday used to be so stressful for me because I wanted to get all of my shopping done that day. Over the years I finally let that thought go because it’s impossible to do. Over the past few years Black Friday has become a tradition for my mom and I. We have a list of gift ideas we want to get, but if we can’t find something it’s no big deal. It’s fun to just spend a day with my mom. Especially since our shopping day turns into a 12 hour day full of laughs.

Now with the internet and Cyber Monday I can finish my Christmas shopping online from the comfort of my couch under my blanket with my coffee in hand. And I don’t have to carry all that stuff! This is how I’ve learned to survive the holidays stress-free. At least the shopping part anyway.

I’ve come up with a list of 10 ways to survive the holidays stress-free. I hope someone finds this list helpful because my hope for you is to enjoy your holiday without any negativity or stress this year.

10 Ways to Survive the Holidays Stress-Free

Get outside

When you start feeling stressed, take a little break and go outside. The fresh air and sunshine will make you feel so much better, even if it’s just for a few minutes.

Take a walk

Take a 30-minute walk around the block or a quick hike through the woods to walk away the stress. According to health.com, walking has a tranquilizing effect on your brain due to the repetition and rhythm it provides. This effect will improve your sleep and decrease any anxiety. It sounds like a win either way!

Sniff some citrus

Citrus scents boost energy as well as alertness. The scent of lemon can also reduce stress. While you’re cleaning for the holidays, use lemon-scented cleaners for a refreshing pick-me-up. You could also try diffusing some lemon or citrus scented essential oils around your home.

Citrus burst essential oil for surviving the holidays
lemon scented essential oil to help you survive the holidays

Just say no

Doing too much – shopping, events, cooking, etc – causes a lot of stress, especially if we’re trying to do everything at the last minute. It’s okay to say no to some of these things. You don’t have to attend every event. People will understand.

Laugh it up

Find a reason to have a good laugh. Take a few minutes to watch a funny video on YouTube or take a little longer and watch your favorite comedy movie. What makes me laugh? Watching videos of babies laughing. Gets me every time.

Don’t be perfect

Thinking everything is going to be perfect is insanely stressful. Let go of the perfectionism and you will enjoy your holiday so much more! Every single time I’ve ever tried to have the perfect anything it has turned into a hot mess. I stressed over getting everything just right and realized I wasted so much time. When I didn’t bother to be so perfect and I just let it happen, I found so much joy in the situation.


I try to wrap any presents as soon as I get them so I’m not stressing myself out by waiting until the last minute. Plus, it makes my tree look more festive if there are presents under it sooner than just Christmas day. Tip: buy extra tape ahead of time!

Keep an ongoing list

Keep a master shopping list handy so that whenever you think of something you need you can write it down immediately. I not only do this for Christmas shopping, but I also keep an ongoing grocery list as well. I’m a list girl, so I have lists for everything! My husband is a tech geek so all of his lists are on his phone or computer and mine are on paper. Whatever works for you to keep things stress-free.

Ask for help

If you have too much going on, don’t be afraid to ask for help! Asking for help is not showing a sign of weakness. I’ve had to learn this the hard way throughout my life.

Take time for yourself

Even if you have to schedule it in, make sure you’re taking a little time for yourself. Go for a massage. Or fill up a bubble bath, put on your favorite music and lock the bathroom door. My idea of relaxing quiet time is grabbing a good book and hiding in the corner of a bookstore for a while. There’s nothing like the smell of books and coffee mingling together!

What stress-free tips would you add to my list to help you survive the holidays?

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10 Ways to Survive the Holidays Stress Free

Entertaining for the holidays? Check out my post on how to clean up fast for company!

How to clean up fast for company

Are you decluttering before the holidays arrive? Check out my clutter-free series and learn how to declutter your home quickly!

Clutter Free Series Wrap Up

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71 thoughts on “10 Ways to Survive the Holidays Stress-Free”

              1. The Eclectic Contrarian

                Correction… you’ll be a year older… πŸ€¦β€β™‚οΈwho’s old now??

  1. Such a terrific list! Why do we attempt “perfection” during the most hectic season?πŸ˜„Lovely to read of your special shopping (& laughing) tradition with your Mom!

    1. Thank you!! I think it’s more stressful to try to make everything perfect because if anything messes up it feels devastating. It’s not that big of a deal. πŸ˜€ I’m glad you enjoyed it! πŸ™‚

  2. Awesome tips,Michelle!! Love that you and your mom have created a tradition that allows you special time together!! The tip on wrapping presents right away is genius!! I need to do that this year!! Thanks for the reminders!!

    1. Thank you so much! We always have the best time. We see so many stressed out people while shopping, but we choose to just make the best of it. Glad I could help! πŸ™‚

  3. I’ve got a few of these points on my list from last year (which I’m transplanting & updating for this year), like saying no and asking for help. You’ve made some excellent suggestions, like with taking a walk and getting outside and smelling a little citrus. I have an orange-scented shower gel which is lush and really boosts my mood, so I can see citrus oils and such being a great little pick me up. Fab post, Michelle 😊
    Caz xx

    1. Thank you so much! I bet the shower gel smells amazing! I’ll have to try that. I currently use a lavender-peppermint one at night before bed and it really helps me relax. Amazing how scents work! πŸ™‚

  4. All great tips Michelle, I used to use paper to write down my lists, but what happened is many times I got to the store and forgot to bring my list, now I love my lists on my phone I always have them with me. I love the scent of citrus all my cleaning items are citrus scent. Going out for a walk is definitely a stress buster for me. And saying NO is a must. Thank you beautiful post.

    1. Thank you so much! I have left my lists at home before, too. Sometimes I have a paper list and a list on my phone just in case! πŸ˜€ I have had to learn how to say no over the years. I’m a people pleaser and hate to hurt anyone’s feelings, but we can’t do it all!:)

  5. Love this post. It can be such a stressful time for so many people, so it’s important to step back and take time for ourselves, if possible. I wanna be better about going outside when I’m stressed out – you’re right, it really does help!

    1. Thank you so much! I agree – we are important and I think we tend to forget that sometimes. Especially during the holidays when we’re trying to get everything done right away.

  6. Michelle, thank you for sharing these survival tips. Two keys for me are to not procrastinate on purchasing gifts, especially those who live far away; and always have plenty of necessary supplies for wrapping gifts.

    1. Thank you! Not procrastinating on the gifts is a really good tip! My step-son and his wife live in Texas and cannot make it in this year so we’re ordering their gifts and having them sent directly to them. I’m hoping everything makes it on time! Yes – definitely have plenty of supplies on hand so there’s not last minute trips to the very busy store. Thank you for those tips!

    1. Thank you so much! I agree that resting and relaxing is much needed. And what better way to do that than curled up with a blanket in front of a great Christmas movie? πŸ˜€

  7. Love this tips list!! Makes me want to enjoy the holidays even more so without getting stressed!! I needed the reminder that it’s ok to say no to thingsπŸ˜‰

    1. I can understand missing your dad. I’m missing my grandparents a lot this year. It’s great that you have better weather so you can get outside when you’re feeling stressed. πŸ™‚

  8. Great tips. I enjoy the holidays so much more now that I relax and realize everything does not have to be done perfectly, and doesn’t all have to be done by me. Gift cards also make shopping so much easier. A Christmas stocking with personal care items (battery toothbrush, tooth paste, lip balm, nail clippers etc) and a few fun items make a good gift to hold. Gift card is the real gift. Enjoy the season and the people.

    1. The Christmas stocking is such a great idea! I agree that gift cards are a great and easy gift. Then people can get what they actually want and no money is wasted. πŸ™‚

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