Ways to Destress at Home During the Holidays

The holiday season can be a stressful time for anyone. Through meal preparation, organizing and decorating, there can be a lot on your mind to get your home ready for the festivities. Now is the time to pay extra attention to yourself while in the season of giving, and not let stress impact your holidays. So whether you are planning on hosting the holidays with your family at home in Denver, CO, or on your way to a gathering in Toronto, CA, here are some ways to destress at home during the holidays to prepare you for anything.

Start off the day with a morning routine

One easy strategy for destressing over the holidays is to create a morning self-care ritual. Even if you only have 5 minutes, establishing a restorative morning routine can set a positive tone for your entire day. Examples of morning self-care rituals at home:

  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Journaling
  • Music
  • Reading
  • Deep breathing
  • Aromatherapy
  • Skincare
  • Nourishing breakfast


Put some things that excite you on the calendar

By intentionally putting an activity that excites you on your calendar each week this holiday season, you’ll have something to consistently look forward to. Rather than focusing on your stress and anxiety, you’ll instead feel excited about the activities you’ve planned. Just a few ideas could be a family outing like ice skating, exploring somewhere local you’ve never gone before, or meeting up with an old friend who you’ve lost touch with!  – Modern Therapy

Take deep breaths when waking up and going to bed

I recommend 3 to 4 rounds of conscious deep breaths every morning after waking up and before bedtime. The optimal number of breaths per round is 30. The morning routine helps keep our blood pressure lower providing an emotional reset to better face the challenges of the day. The bedtime routine is to sleep better and faster. – Timeqube

Create a gratitude journal

During the holiday season, we tend to over-exert ourselves with cooking, baking, decorating, shopping, and socializing. If you’re feeling especially stressed and anxious around this time of year, cross off some of the unnecessary activities on your to-do list and devote that time to restful reflection. Making a gratitude list and journaling about your favorite memories from this year will help to ground you, so you can savor this special time with your loved ones lightheartedly. – Dr. Messina & Associates

Listen to your favorite sounds to relax your mind

I recommend putting together a playlist of your top favorite sounds, such as sounds of the ocean, raindrops, morning sounds or even a slow heartbeat, and taking a daily 10-minute break to put headphones on and listen to it. The right combination of sounds can lower your heart rate and cortisol stress hormone levels and help calm your mind and body.  My personal favorite is Weightless, which was created specifically to help calm the nervous system. – Cohesive Therapy NYC

Create time for yourself to reflect

Practicing radical self-care during the holidays is an absolute must for mind/body/spirit health. Keep it simple: get outside and connect with nature every day, carve out sacred space for no-phone quiet time, balance every glass of eggnog or holiday sweet with a glass of water! – Spirited Living

Destress at home with an in-home spa

If you are wound up like a top and have no time to de-stress at a spa, bring the spa to you.

  • Take a warm bath in Ancient Minerals Magnesium to soothe aches and pains and relax muscles before bed for a sound sleep. Add your favorite essential oils to lull your mind.
  • Get a buckwheat-filled wrap and heat in the microwave, wrap it around your neck and put on a sleep mask with some soft music – and breathe deep & slow. Sweet dreams!

Therapeutic Kneads, Ltd.

Set boundaries with your friends and family

Self-care doesn’t have to look like a spa, the gym, or a luxurious indulgence. It can look like simply setting boundaries with your friends and family around what you will accept and how many holiday events you’re able to participate in. It can look like creating a safe space inside your home and scheduling a specific timeframe each day where nobody is allowed to bother you in that space, and journal, meditate, exercise, or do anything else that brings you joy. Maintaining those boundaries and taking care of yourself is key to keeping your mind and body balanced and ready to take on all the holiday stressors that may arise – inside or outside the home! – JK Photos

Listen to your body and respect others’ feelings

Whether you think you can or can’t, you’re right. Honor your feelings and respect those of others and everything will be alright. – Vori Health.

Getting creative can help you relax

Engaging in art-making can be used as a therapeutic self-care activity because it promotes the flow of creativity and increases your imagination, which can reframe negative thoughts and emotions. You will find that just ten minutes of rest with a mindful activity can uplift your mood, reduce stress, and replenish your energy.  Try doodling, drawing, collage-making or knitting. – The Art Therapy Project 

Include your family in preparations so there is less on you

Holidays are not about perfection, rather family, connection, and yes, messiness, so, show yourself some self-care by loosening up on those high expectations. Share experiences, for example, divvy up the holiday meal preparation – put the name of each dish in a hat and have everyone pick one randomly; you’ll have less to do, and your kiddos will learn some skills. Laugh heartily and when you feel the signals of stress, try some box breathing to bring down your heart rate (in for 4, hold for 4, exhale for 4, hold for 4 and repeat).  Remember wellness isn’t stuck on a container ship – it’s right in your grasp – just choose mindful ways to enjoy this season without carrying all the burden! – Reset Lounge

Create a space of relaxation with essential oils

Create an aromatherapy ritual that allows you to slow down and be present, like diffusing essential oils every evening or having a weekly aromatherapy bath to unwind. Lavender is great for calming, frankincense is known for grounding, and citrus oils can uplift the spirit. Be sure to use your aromatherapy ritual as an intentional time to focus on your breath. – Wild Grove Essentials 

Others’ moods can affect your own

What’s the ultimate de-stressor? Focus on making your partner happy, and you might see your anxieties lessen. There’s nothing like a little snuggle time at home to take your mind off things! – Book of Us

How to grieve a personal loss in a healthy way

The holidays are also the time of year where we tend to reflect and remember someone we have lost during the year. It could be a parent, friend or a pet. Instead of bottling up these emotions, it is important to talk about your loss, seek support or bereavement groups, and know that it’s “ok to not feel ok.” It also helps to act on behalf of our loved ones and honor them through a donation or sharing positive stories of their lives on Social Media. This is therapeutic for us too. – HCO Behavioral Health Services

Increase activity levels to release endorphins

Whether you are working at home or are back at the office, it’s very easy to forget how sedentary our lives have become. This holiday season, we strongly advise taking baby steps to increase your activity levels on non-working days. It can be as simple as showing your pet some love and taking them for a long walk, or as complex as performing a 10-minute no-equipment home workout. The beauty of it is that moving more will increase your endorphins and adrenaline levels, which can be a great stress reliever during the holidays. – Vantage Circle


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