Coping with Holiday Stress: My 5-Step Formula for Thriving this Holiday Season

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Coping with Holiday Stress: My 5-Step Formula for Thriving this Holiday Season

Christmas stress
By Cyndi Lynne

At some point, do you find yourself just trying to survive the holidays? That was my plan for many years until my “survival scheme” left me sick and in bed for the first week of January.

I was always very excited about a few special events, then my calendar would start to fill with work obligations, school programs and distant relatives passing through town. I’d rationalize, it’s only a couple weeks. But if you’re like most of me, you feel the start of the holiday season somewhere around mid-November. So by the time we ring in the New Year, that’s more than six weeks of so-called survival.

I’m sure I should have prioritized better, but each event crept in, one at a time, and I hadn’t yet learned to say no.

So what is my fool-proof plan for thriving during the holidays?

1. Know your limit.

Mine is a max of 4 events in a week. You may feel fine with more, but remember it’s about thriving, not just surviving. This is part of being discerning and selective with your time and energy.

2. Subtract 1. Limit-1=events booked.

It’s that simple. When you are accepting invitations or hosting parties ask yourself is that event is worthy of one of your precious time slots. Don’t just fill up your time because there isn’t anything else on your calendar at the moment.

3. Just say no–or better yet, ‘No thank-you’ I’ve had to practice the art of “saying no”.

No, is a complete sentence. You are not required to explain yourself. A simple response is always best. “Thank you for thinking of us, but we won’t be able to make it to your cookie decorating party this year. I hope you have a wonderful time.”

4. Guard your downtime.

Evenings without events are your recovery and recharging time. Working late is no downtime, it should be considered one of your “event” evenings. It doesn’t sound so appealing in that light! Instead, enjoy being at home, eat a bit lighter and healthier, go for a walk after dinner, take a hot bath, get to bed a bit early or just putter around choosing that special outfit or a great hostess gift for your next event.

5. Stay flexible.

Does that sound a bit contradictory? It’s actually not. This is where the “subtract 1” comes in. If you unexpectedly have to work late at night or better yet, get tickets to an amazing performance you can accommodate that without going over your limit. Because you have the other pieces in place, you will be much better at sorting out what’s really worth your time and energy.

Having a plan and sticking to it does more than just keep your schedule in check. It can give you a real sense of control during what is a stressful time for many. Having a plan and learning to stick to it is also the foundation of personal integrity–and that’s an absolute necessity for thriving.


Stacey Chillemi

I am on a mission to transform the health of millions worldwide. Check out my website at I am a popular and recognizable health and lifestyle reporter and expert, columnist and health host. Author of The Complete Guide to Natural Healing and Natural Remedies for Common Conditions, along with 20 other published books. I am the founder of The Complete Herbal Guide and a recognized health and natural remedies expert, with over 20 years in practice as a Health Coach. I write for the Huffington Post, Huff Post, Thrive Global and Medium (Owned by Arianna Huffington). I have been a guest on the Dr. Oz Show, local news, and numerous radio shows. My focus is on natural healing, herbal remedies, alternative methods, self-motivation, food for medicine, nutrition, fitness, natural beauty remedies and the power of positive thinking.



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