Frank Salvatore
Health and Lifestyle

Tips to Combat Holiday Stress

December 1, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

While the holidays bring a lot of joy to many people, they do not come without their fair share of stress. With last minute rushes to buy gifts and parties every weekend that include nothing more than awkward small talk, it is easy to feel a bit overwhelmed from the pressure of the holidays. Here are some tips on staying positive during the holidays, which will result in health and happiness when you ring in the new year.

Get Out in the Sun

The sun stimulates the production of serotonin and helps relieve symptoms of seasonal affective disorder, which may be brought on by the winter months. To ease these winter blues, take some time each day to soak up some sunlight, whether it is outside or just near a window in your house.


Some studies on depression have shown that certain fragrances, such as citrus, not only relieve stress, but also boost feelings of well-being by increasing levels of norepinephrine, which is a mood enhancing hormone.

Take a Walk

Walking is not only great exercise, but also has a tranquilizing effect on the brain. It decreases anxiety and increases sleep quality. Try to take a half hour walk each day. Research shows that workouts can increase your mood for up to 12 hours.


5-HTP is a plant extract that is thought to have several health benefits. It not only increases serotonin, but it can also reduce anxiety and improve sleep.

Find Your Pressure Points

The area between the index finger and thumb is a traditional pressure point in Chinese medicine. Squeezing this area for 30 seconds may reduce stress and tension in the upper body. This can be helpful if you are feeling overwhelmed. One study actually shows that giving massages or helping other people with their pressure points may be just as stress relieving as receiving them.

Do Not be Afraid to Say No

While it is almost expected to go overboard during the holidays to please other people, do not forget to take care of yourself. This may mean declining an invitation or two or skipping the traditional Christmas cards. If you are stressed out by your holiday schedule, cut it back and only take on what you can manage. Just remember that it is okay to slow down.

Keep Your Daily Routine

Don’t let exercise or other activities slide during the holidays. Keep your priorities in your routine and don’t take on more holiday activities than you can handle.


Laughing often reduces stress, which helps immune cells function at an optimum level. In order to get a good laugh with the family, tell everyone to put all of their cell phones and gadgets away for the day and just spend time with each other.

Nothing Has to be Perfect

Rather than focusing on the minute details of everything being perfect, enjoy the people around you and the experience of the holidays as a whole.

Get Out

Having holiday meals at a restaurant not only saves time with cooking and cleaning, but it also provides an even playing field for family members who may have tension in each other’s houses.

Start New Traditions

If you are lonely this holiday season, consider abandoning old customs and experiment with new traditions, or invite some new people over to your house for a new experience.


Volunteer to do some things for the family during the holidays, but don’t hesitate to delegate tasks to others to help out. However, ask for help in a smart way by talking to people individually, rather than sending out a mass request that will likely be ignored.

Fill Up on Specific Foods

Some foods can help alter your mood. For example, spicy foods release endorphins, which are natural feel-good chemicals. Honey, on the other hand, acts as an antioxidant and has antibacterial properties that can help improve immunity.

Start With Breakfast

Drinking caffeinated coffee on an empty stomach causes blood sugar levels to quickly rise, which leads to attention problems and irritability. Be sure to eat a little breakfast before enjoying your coffee.

Keep Your Sex Life Active

Sex can boost your immunity and combat stress, while also raising self-esteem. Orgasms not only increase endorphins, but also raise oxytocin levels, which improves the quality of sleep.

Listen to Music

Listening to your favorite music can help relieve anxiety. Hearing music that you enjoy can relax blood vessels, which then increases your blood flow. This is calming and is also very heart-healthy.

Reach for a Healthy Dessert

Rather than reaching for the cheesecake at a holiday party, try a fruit pie instead. Mangoes, especially, can alter your blood chemistry, calming the body.

Plan a Vacation

Even if this just means staying home and sending the kids out with a babysitter, take some time off of work to just relax and rejuvenate yourself.

The Power of Positive Thinking

The holidays are stressful, but do not focus all of your energy on being overwhelmed. Negative thinking can increase your stress levels. Instead, remember that the holidays are a time to celebrate with loved ones. Be optimistic and it will help you deal with any bumps in the road.

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Frank Salvatore