7 Ways to Keep Your Sanity This Holiday Season

We are officially in the time of year that can cause our stress to go into overdrive. Get ready.

We are officially in the time of year that can cause our stress to go into overdrive. Get ready.

If you’re seeing all the touching holiday-themed commercials, listening to your favorite Christmas music already, or are fully committed to the Countdown to Christmas movies on the Hallmark Channel (and don’t get me wrong, I LOVE a Hallmark movie!), then you know the fantasy is that this is the most wonderful time of the year! We are supposed to be filled with joy, warmth, the magic of the season, love, and feelings of togetherness. The reality is that the holidays can actually be very challenging.

For many, the season we are entering can be filled with intense emotions. Some of us are facing their first or are navigating another holiday season with family or friends who are no longer with us. Others are dreading or anticipating family drama that might be amplified at this time of the year.

If you need a little guidance on how to maintain your peace of mind this holiday season, here are 7 tips for you to do or at least keep in mind:

  1. Prepare your game plan.

    Before even setting foot in a situation that may put your stress into overdrive, give yourself some time and space to set some intentions. How do you want to be at that family gathering? Get a clear picture in your mind of what it would look and feel like to protect your boundaries or your peace of mind when dealing with [enter your historical source of stress here].

  2. Who’s your wingman?

    Is there a family member, significant other, or friend who you can designate as your go-to when or if things get hairy? As part of your holiday game plan prep, make sure you know who you can lean on or who can lend an ear when you need to blow off some steam.

  3. Own your feelings.

    If and when a situation arises that has your blood at its boiling point, take a moment to define what exactly it is that has you so upset and take responsibility for those feelings. Remember, anger is a secondary emotion. Before you take action, it is crucial that you take a moment to think about what feeling came up just before anger set in.

    Now, of course, ignoring the trigger will allow you to avoid a confrontation, but here are two reasons why this approach ultimately doesn’t work: 1) Silence conveys that you’re okay with what is happening, and this clears the path for it to keep happening. 2) Your silence means you are giving away your power. In addition to giving the impression that you aren’t bothered by what’s happening, giving away your power plants seeds of guilt and resentment. This could set the stage for a blow-up later that will likely be misguided and cause more hurt and pain not only for you, but for whoever’s on the receiving end.

“Give yourself permission to name what you need without shame or guilt.” ~ Alex Elle

4. Give yourself a timeout.

There’s nothing wrong with stealing away for a few moments to the bathroom, your car, or some other private location to gather your thoughts, do some grounding exercises, or to simply breathe. Your breath is ALWAYS available to you. Taking a few breaths in and out is an easy and quick way to reconnect, refocus, and recharge.

5. Don’t take it personally.

The way someone speaks to or about you, treats you, or responds to you has everything to do with them (their mindset, their mood, or their perspective) and nothing to do with you. Full stop. Try your best to not take it to heart.

6. It’s okay to leave.

You’ve done everything in your power to deescalate and take the high road, and yet the situation continues to worsen. Now what? If it gets to be too much at this point, leave. Yes, it’s your family and yes it’s the holiday but nowhere does it say that you are required to subject yourself to unending unkindness and nonsense. Protecting your joy and your emotional well-being is what’s most important…and is entirely within your control.

“Learning to walk away is hard but staying to suffer is harder.” ~ Mariel Avila

7. Relax, reflect, and release.

Once the gathering has ended (or you’ve physically removed yourself), take the time you need to decompress from all the festivities. Take a bubble bath, go for a walk, treat yourself to a massage, watch an episode or two of The Golden Girls for a good belly laugh, or indulge in your favorite treat. Next, reflect on what went well and what you would do differently the next time — because we know there will be a next time. Finally, let it go. Don’t ruminate on or rehash what didn’t go as well as you hoped. Accept what is and remember that tomorrow is an opportunity for a fresh start.

Wishing you peace of mind, self-care, courage, and happiness this holiday season!


I am here to help. just reach out!

Need a partner to help you prepare your game plan? Or maybe you are looking for some guidance on how to own your feelings. Book a complimentary session with me and let’s talk about whatever it is you need most this holiday season!