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Comfort and Joy

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Good Tidings

Every year we know it’s coming… “The Holidays.” Whatever holiday you celebrate, it’s probably full of family, friends and food. And it probably comes with stress, too, from things like: travelling, inclement weather, trying to keep everyone healthy, buying gifts, making food, navigating the loss of a loved one, cleaning the house, overnight guests, finances, family dynamics, etc. Obviously, you will be stressed if these are the things plaguing your mind! Let’s see how we can manage to not just “get through” the holidays, but rather to come out on the other side with some peace and joy.

“I like to compare the holiday season with the way a child listens to a favorite story. The pleasure is in the familiar way the story begins, the anticipation of familiar turns it takes, the familiar moments of suspense, and the familiar climax and ending.”

Fred Rogers


Let It Snow

The stressors of the holiday season can easily sneak up on us, leading to physical and emotional symptoms such as:

  • Headaches
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Sadness
  • Anxiety
  • Exhaustion
  • Loneliness

It can be easier to identify the symptoms of stress once they already happen, so let’s try to get more proactive about it.


Greetings of Cheer

We know your holiday to-do list is calling your name, so we’ll get right to the good stuff. Here are some of the top tips to prep for a holly jolly holiday.


  1. Make a list of all the events and activities you want to do. From there, whittle it down to what you can realistically handle without feeling burnt out. What’s left is a list of things that make you most happy and a schedule that will bring you the most joy and peace, and ultimately an enjoyable holiday season.


  1. Make a budget. It’s easy to over spend for the holidays, which most Americans do. So figure out what you can safely spend, and then plan accordingly. Especially with inflation these days, many people are getting creative with their gift giving, or simply choosing quality over quantity.


  1. Take care of yourself. Don’t feel guilty about putting your mental health first. Don’t give up all the healthy habits you work so hard at the rest of the year. They make you feel good! Throwing them out the window at a time known to be most stressful is a recipe for disaster. Enjoy your meal, but take a walk in the cold air after. Instead of watching that holiday movie marathon on the couch, maybe start a game of holiday Pictionary or charades.


  1. Make plans for difficult topics. They’ll come up whether we like it or not. Maybe your family always asks you when you will get married, or have kids and it brings you down.  Think of the best answer that will make you confident and at peace and prepare it beforehand. Getting caught off guard by subjects that may take your holiday joy down a notch IS avoidable.  Or maybe you have lost a loved one.  So many people have lost friends or family, whether to Covid-19 or other fates, and it may be difficult to feel celebratory without them. It may make it hard for everyone to ignore the feelings, so plan ahead for a way to acknowledge them in an uplifting way and include them in the celebration.  Perhaps sharing a happy memory, or a special toast.


  1. Take a minute to know your personal triggers. What makes the holidays stressful to YOU? Whatever it is, think about what would make you feel at peace about them. Put a plan in place. Not only will it help bring you peace in the face of the trigger, but it will reduce any stress in anticipation of that trigger.


  1. If cooking a meal or getting the house ready is the last thing you want to think about, then consider outsourcing. Do you have the funds to hire a decorator? Then, it may be worth paying for someone to put up your lights outdoors. Maybe you have small children and can’t picture cooking a whole meal without burning things. If you’re able, try getting it catered, so you just have to heat everything up and can spend more time on what matters more to you. These days it’s easy to find a house cleaner, so check online, or ask around to friends for a recommendation. Extra helping hands may be worth the price of your sanity.


  1. Laughing is a quick and easy way to release stress. If you or people around you are starting to get tense, play a comedy special by your favorite comedian, make a contest of sharing a funniest memory, mingle the adults with the kids and get silly with a dance competition. Have a few ideas in your back pocket when you need a little laugh release. Check out some more ideas on our blog post about the stress relieving nature of laughter! A Laughing Matter - Sellers Insurance


  1. Don’t feel guilty about saying no. This goes along with our first tip. If you already planned your holiday season with what bring you and your family peace and joy, then don’t feel badly if you have to say no to a last minute invite to something that adds stress. Stress in the family is contagious. So protecting your mental health is not just for you, it’s for your whole family, including kids. It’s okay to say no!


  1. Don’t set unrealistic expectations. There is a flood of Hallmark movies that make this season feel magical, fuzzy, romantic, sentimental, and satisfying. But those are movies! That’s a high and unrealistic expectation for cheer. Enjoy YOUR reality. Find the magic and contentment with the things in your life that bring you peace and joy. Remember: Comparison kills contentment! Not everybody has a luxury ski cabin in the mountains with white fluffy snow outside, a warm fireplace inside, the love of your life by your side and lots of family who are always kind, considerate and can belt out Christmas tunes in perfect harmony together. And that’s okay! Look around at what you do have. Is it you, your dog, and some delicious takeout from your favorite restaurant after a crazy work schedule? Is it a small group of friends getting dressed up to go out to dinner? Is it lots of little kids, insensitive relatives, burnt turkey and lots of laughter? No matter what it is, it’s YOURS and you can find your joy in it. Don’t let comparison take that away from you and add to your stress.


Let’s Celebrate

With the momentum of the holiday season fast approaching, take some time now to think about what matters most to you, and what your triggers are. Identifying those two things will start you off toward a peaceful and stress-free time of year. Happy Holidays!



**Additional Resources


Holiday Stress: Causes, Management, and More (

What stresses Americans the most about the holidays might surprise you (

Why Are the Holidays So Stressful? (

How to Enjoy a Stress-Free Holiday (

Stress, depression and the holidays: Tips for coping - Mayo Clinic

1 in 5 Parents Say Their Holiday Stress Level Negatively Affects Their Child’s Enjoyment of the Season - Neuroscience News

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