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Six Ways to Reduce Holiday Stress

Nov. 26, 2021 / Haley McCoy
three VASA workers, making a tricycle to give to a kid for Christmas

Most of us have been there: We plan to make it our best holiday season yet, but one week in, we’re tired and stressed from all the running around, waiting in lines, dodging crowds, and dealing with family drama. To cope with anxiety, we start overindulging, but that negatively affects sleep and the stress cycle spirals. How do we deal? Follow these next six steps and jingle your way through the holidays so you wake up on January 1 with a fresh and positive outlook.


Phone a Friend. “How are you?” And like a reflex, most of us say something along the lines of, “I’m great!” or “Doing well!” In reality, we’re completely overwhelmed. And these days, health concerns put extra pressure on holiday gatherings. You don’t need to shout it from the rooftops, but it’s okay to confide in a friend or family member about your emotional state. And, if you’re indeed feeling great, spread the cheer and pick someone else up who may need it (thank you, endorphin boost!).


A girl sitting by her couch talking on the phone and her laptop looking stressedA group of people doing yoga in a vasa studio to reduce holiday stress


Stick to (Some) Healthy Routines. We’re all about having fun, and the holidays are meant to be a time of toasts, friendship, family dinners, and happy hours with colleagues. Enjoy your parties and obligations, but make time to sneak in your favorite yoga class or keep to your morning nutrition routine. And, hydration is key.


Give & Get. One of the most satisfying ways to celebrate the holidays? By giving back to your community (and not just gift certificates). Participate in a food drive, volunteer at a local kitchen or hospital, or donate to a children’s gift drive. Stress falls to the wayside when you help others less fortunate than yourself.


Gift of Gratitude. When overwhelm kicks into overdrive, simply remind yourself what you’re grateful for. It can be as simple as the sun on your face, or feeling happy a friend is healthy and thriving. Consider gratitude the antidote to anxiety and stress.


A woman curling up on her couch to read a book to relieve stress A man at a VASA gym smiling while squatting


Put the Brakes On. Who says you have to attend every party or holiday obligation? Take a breather and make time for you. Get lost in a book, enjoy a favorite podcast, or ditch a holiday party for a cheesy movie and couch time. Slowing down is not a sign of weakness. Rather, it’s your way of celebrating you!


Get Your Sweat On. No surprise here. At VASA, we believe movement and fitness anchors a fulfilled life. So even on those December mornings when motivation to move is tougher than normal, do it anyway. You’ll never regret a workout, and you’ll be thanking yourself afterwards. Happy, stress-free holiday-ing!