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Friday Question of the Day – How Do You Deal with Holiday Stress?

by Prince Of Petworth — December 13, 2012 at 10:22 pm 38 Comments

Photo by PoPville flickr user carkrame

So I was having this discussion the other day and was curious what you guys do. I suppose the question could be how do you deal with stress in general but some folks say their stress levels increase exponentially this time of year dealing with travel, family, work etc. I would say I deal with stress primarily by walking and listening to music though I am also known to enjoy a few beers. Sometimes I find reading a good book really mellows me out as well. I don’t play as often as I used to but a game or two of ping pong is also a good stress reliever for me.

Do you guys have any secrets – How do you manage your stress?

  • MP

    What works for me – walking with my dog, swimming, breathing exercises, restorative yoga. There’s something in each of these that triggers relaxation.

    And if these don’t work, I’d turn to alcohol and ambion

  • 17thSter

    Restorative yoga. Walks. Holiday markets. Decorating my mini-tree.

    • Anonymous

      Ugh, the holiday market downtown actually upped my stress level–insanely crowded. Planning to give it another shot with the hope that it’ll be less mobbed now that we’re further into the season.

  • Maire

    The biggest thing that has helped me in recent years is to really scale back the gift-giving. I get something for my nephew, my partner, and my parents. That’s it. My siblings and I agreed not to exchange Christmas gifts anymore – it seems like someone always has to travel for the holidays so that is enough money spent, no one really needs anything, AND there’s always a birthday coming up if someone really wants to give a gift.

    So that has really helped take the pressure off.

    • Anonymous


      I’ve scaled back on gift giving over the years. Never with friends or coworkers and limited gifts with the family. Online shopping + red wine help too.

    • +1. We do a Secret Santa for the adults in my family to save money and make things less stressful. We pull names out of a hat and buy something for that person only. I also buy something for my boyfriend, and presents for my little nieces and nephews.

      Also, red wine helps with the stress as well 😉

    • Anonymous

      +1,000. I have a small family to begin with, but we dispensed with gift-giving among the cousins and between aunts/uncles and nieces/nephews, officially because money’s tight for us all, and unofficially because we’re not super-close and have very different tastes, and it got to the point where we were gifting each other items that were likely to be re-gifted. (The only exception being my cousin’s kid, who gets gifts because she’s 2; otherwise, there are no children among us anymore.) It’s also helped that my group of college friends (from 15-ish years ago) decided to do away with gifts in favor of taking ourselves out for a nice, long, leisurely dinner. Not that we don’t hang out during the year, but with kids, work schedules, etc., it’s not always easy to get the full group together, so there’s something nice about taking that time for ourselves during the holiday.

  • RMikes

    Rye Old-Fashioneds

  • Anonymous

    I’ve created the traditions that I want to be a part of.

    If you can’t celebrate the holidays, then don’t celebrate them.
    Rule your life and abandon expectations that others impose on you.

    • +1 for abandoning others’ expectations. Holidays (and life) are much less stressful when you stop trying to meet everyone else’s expectations. Evaluate what you want to do and what will make you the happiest. Use that as your starting point. True loved ones will understand.

      I should know, I have a ginormous family who used to pull me in a million directions every time I went home for a holiday. I told them that I still love them, but I can’t possibly be part of each of their plans without being so stressed that I didn’t get to enjoy any part of the holiday. They understood and backed off.

  • I sometimes go for a nice drive in my car and yell-and-swear at randos while they can’t hear me. I usually feel better after that. If not, wine and pedicures help.

  • slb

    I ignore what I can, and that helps significantly. For example, this year I felt like the holiday parties associated with work were adding to the stress more than usual, so I decided to skip them. I also try to scale back the number of people I give gifts to (if they are not close family or my “favorite” people, I don’t give anything). For the gifts I do give, I just try give something nice I think they will probably like, instead of trying to get a perfect/awesome gift.

  • Anonymous

    Alcohol and pills.

  • I sneak into people’s houses and leave an upper decker. It’s an old trick learned from Marion Barry.

    • anon

      What (dare I ask) is an upper decker?

      • Removing the upper lid on the toilet and crapping in water tank.

        It’s the gift that keeps giving all year ’round!

  • Anon X

    I never understood holiday stress. You do what you need to do and enjoy all the fun activities. If you’re getting stressed out, maybe look at why you’re so stressed rather than how to deal with it.

    • Anonymous

      Isn’t looking at why you’re stressed just the necessary first step to dealing with it?

      • Should be but it’s probably not in most cases. I think many people see holiday stress as totally unavoidable but also temporary, so “dealing with it” generally means “coping with it” rather than “eliminating the source of it”.

  • lollygaggling

    Just say no.

    Also, this year, I donated money to Heifer International and Bat World Sanctuary as my “gifts” to other people. We all have too much stuff as it is.

    • You also left out the Human Fund.

      • matt


  • That Man A

    I typically tend to not get stressed
    but what i think helps are my regualr workouts, riding my motorcycle at reasonable speeds lol, cycling, positive vibes…

  • KenyonDweller

    I don’t have any stress at the holidays. My wife and decided many years ago not to travel for the holidays simply because it is too stressful. Our families understood completely. Now, we visit when it is warm. Online shopping has removed the stress of the packed shopping mall. The other parts of the holidays–parties, baking, cooking Xmas dinner–are fun not stressful.

  • dcndc

    Running, running and more running. (Also helps with any holiday food indulging) Taking moments for myself.

    And if all else fails, spiked egg nog.

  • Orgasms. A good shag can sort out most things.
    Can I say that on this blog?

    • Anonymous

      i went to a 3rd tier school and am not a lawyer. coffee?

      • lol. I am very happily married but thanks for the offer!

  • Grindr and a liquor store that delivers

  • Stress is often our own doing – so don’t make life tough on yourself.
    With that said I exercise a bit more than normal – a nice long run Christmas morning is wonderful stress reliever.
    I also try do something new every year – eases the stress of trying to keep up all the traditions.

    Bloody Mary’s Christmas day never hurt either.

  • anonymous

    I started not drinking from Thanksgiving until Christmas this 3 years ago and it seems to really help. You can still enjoy your favorite holiday drink on actual Christmas or in the days after, you’ll save money for gifts, you won’t be hungover and tempted to skip the gym or work out, and your less likely to indulge in the massive amounts of sweets in the office kitchen. Give it a try just from now until Christmas, it’s only 10 days.

  • I think I love Christmas too much to get stressed. Of course, I think I’m starting to stress my wife out with how much I love it…

  • Anonymous

    Go for a walk in Rock Creek Park. Nature restores everything.

  • Meg

    I’m a big-time planner, and when things don’t go according to plan, I stress. So I plan ahead when it comes to the holidays. I decide what kind of cookies I’ll bake, get the non-perishables for them well in advance, and decide when I’ll make them. I start my Christmas list of gifts I’d like to get people (including links to them online and keeping a tally on if they were bought and shipped) about two months ahead of time, so then I just have to run around and buy all the stuff. Lastly (and most importantly), I get help. Help to wrap my presents, help to watch my kid when I need to get stuff done.

  • anon

    I’m not sure that I’ve ever experienced holiday stress, but I’ve definitely experienced holiday angst. (And I imagine that goes for other people whose relationships with their families are strained/tense.)

    Traditionally, the holidays are all about family togetherness, which means you end up feeling pretty pathetic if your family doesn’t give a $%^ about seeing you.

    Sometimes you can get around this by traveling elsewhere, to see friends or just be a tourist… but it’s still hard to suppress the thought of “My family doesn’t care about me.”

  • Anonymous

    Cocktails and rosy cheeks!

  • saf

    I really love this picture.

    Kitties make holiday stress go away.

    Well, until they cause more stress by climbing the tree, and batting the ornaments, and drinking the tree water, and climbing into the manger scene and batting all the sheep around, and opening the presents….

  • Anonymous

    Wine. Lots of wine.
    And when I go home to my parents, playing with my sweet kitty that’s still there. It’s hard to be too stressed with a purring furball in your lap.


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