How to Reduce Stress During the Holiday Season

Tips for finding the way to a calmer, more peaceful you

This time of year can sometimes feel like a vortex of planning, doing, shopping, cooking, and attending holiday get-togethers, concerts, and events. And that doesn’t even include everyday responsibilities like attending classes, studying for tests, taking care of family members, etc. The swirl of the end of the year can lead to feeling stressed, overwhelmed, and too tired to enjoy any of it. On Thanksgiving, you might think that there’s plenty of time until the next holiday you celebrate, but then it feels like like you wake up and it’s January 2nd!

Here are a few tips for stepping out of the stressful spinning and into a happier, calmer place to enjoy the holiday season.

Hit the pause button

If you are feeling dizzy from the visions of your to-do list dancing through your mind, hit pause. Take a long, deep breath. Take another one. Then, pick one item on the list and focus on that until it’s complete. Then, move on to the next and work on it until it’s finished. Then, the next. Repeat as often as you need until you have everything done. However, if you are still feeling stressed after a few, it might be time to re-evaluate exactly what needs to be done on the list, and what can wait until the January days when you might be looking for something to do.

Stick to your regular routine (or create one)

Staying up until midnight or 1 a.m. might seem like a good solution when you are trying to get things done, but resist. Make sure you go to bed at a time that allows you to get 7 or 8 hours of sleep each night. If you have a regular exercise schedule, keep to it. If you don’t have one yet,  fit exercise in wherever you can. Try taking a quick walk on your lunch hour, use the stairs rather than an elevator or escalator, or do a few extra laps around the mall when you are shopping. If you’re watching TV, do a set of push ups or ab work during commercials.

Getting good rest and consistent exercise can help keep your energy levels up and your stress levels down.

Don’t bust the budget

As a student you are probably already on a tight budget. Don’t let the holidays pressure you into overextending yourself to buy gifts. Set your budget for purchases and stay within it. If you are really short on cash, think creatively and differently. Do you have an awesome selfie of you and your best friend? Have a print made and put it in a frame. Can you draw, paint, or play an instrument? Offer to give a few lessons to your nieces and nephews. Spend time with a grandparent playing a board game or watching one of their favorite old movies. The gift of an experience or handmade item can be much more personal and memorable than a sweater or video game.

Try meditation

Whether you have two minutes or 20, you can benefit from meditating on a daily basis. Don’t know where to even begin? A quick Google search can help you find links to learning the basics. There seems to be an app for everything these days, including meditation. Check out  iTunes or Google Play for lots of options.


We hope these stress-reducing suggestions will help you be calmer through the end of this year and well into 2018! From everyone here at ACMC, we wish you a fun-filled, safe and stress-free holiday season!

This article is part of the weekly blog of the American College for Medical Careers in Orlando, FL. For more about our professional training programs, visit us online.