10 Ways To Beat Holiday Stress

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving to my wonderful American readers!!!!

Little known fact: Approximately 70% of my readers are from the US! So thank you to each and everyone of you. :D

There once was a time when I too celebrated US Thanksgiving. I used to live in Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina when I was young! :) I was a ‘Southern Gal’ with a HUGE southern accent! I traded that for a Canadian accent. ;)

10 Ways To Beat Holiday Stress

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Stress Busting Tip #1: Roll With The Punches

Of course, for many, holidays can bring a lot of stress, but my advice is to try to roll with the punches. Don’t aim for perfection from yourself or others- especially around the holidays- and you will be a much happier individual.

Stress Busting Tip #2: Visualize: ‘Water off a duck’s back’

Many of you have asked me what to do about negative comments that you receive around the dinner table. This can be especially hard for vegetarians or vegans. I have been asked just about everything under the moon. Try this visualization technique- picture water rolling off a duck’s back whenever you encounter a stressful comment from a family member. Don’t let that comment ‘penetrate’ your skin- just let it roll right off and carry on with your day! Go find your funny relative and get him/her to tell you a joke or funny story.

Stress Busting Tip #3: Be True To You

My advice is to always be honest and true to yourself, even during stressful moments. Don’t let anyone make you feel like you have to change who you are to accommodate someone else’s expectations. Life goes on! Anyone who has a problem with how you live your life, probably has deeper issues going on.

Stress Busting Tip #4: Answer questions about your diet honestly, but wait until after dinner

If someone asks why you are vegetarian/vegan or not eating ‘such and such’, tell them why but wait until after dinner. I always say something like, ‘I’d love to talk with you about it later on this evening.’ And then change the topic by asking a family member about their new house/pet/job, etc.

Stress Busting Tip #5: You are a grown adult, repeat, you are a grown adult

Is someone pushing dessert/leftovers on you that you don’t want?

Remember, no one can force you to eat something you don’t want to. Politely decline and leave it at that. They will get over it…I promise!

When I am full, I always say that I am too full to eat anything else, but I may have some later on. Case closed. Everyone else will be passed out by then and won’t even notice if you actually did try Aunt Betty’s pie or not.

Stress Busting Tip #6: Make a list and put it in your pocket

Most of all, try to focus on the positives of the holiday. Remind yourself what you are grateful for during those times of high stress.

Before your holiday event, write a short list of 5 things you are happy about in your life. Keep the list in your pocket and read it over whenever you are feeling stressed. Excuse yourself, go to the washroom, lock the door and zone out for a few minutes reading your list and thinking about why you are lucky to be you. Deep breaths. Repeat a mantra like: Ocean, ocean, ocean…

Stress Busting Tip #7: Sweat out the stress!

No matter where you are you can always fit in a bit of exercise. Bring your sneakers with you when traveling and get out for a walk with the family. When I travel I like to wake up early before the family is up and get my workout over with. I did this on my recent trip out west and it worked awesome. You can also do many resistance exercises without any equipment- pushups, planks/core work, lunges, and squats are all quick exercises you can squeeze in. Sometimes just 5 minutes of resistance exercises can get you out of a temporary funk.

Stress Busting Tip #8: Maintain your routine as much as possible!

I love my routine and when I am following it, I feel my best. This is why whenever I am away from home I always pack many of my items that are part of my routine:

  • Amazing Grass wheatgrass powder (on the go ‘swamp water‘ and amazing meal- perfect for travel!!)
  • All my vitamins
  • Workout clothes and sneakers
  • Green tea
  • Glo bars + fruit like apples
  • My laptop + camera equipment + battery chargers
  • Confident clothes (i.e., clothes I feel awesome in!)

When I pack the things that I use everyday to keep me feeling my best, I always feel better during the holidays. Whatever you need to keep you on track, throw it in your bag. So what if I am known by my husband as a huge over-packer? To me it isn’t over packing, it is preparing for any situation! There is no better feeling than being prepared. ;)

Stress Busting Tip #9: Chill with a furry creature

Animals rock. Find one and play with them or cuddle up by the fire. Research shows that pets relieve stress!

Stress Busting Tip #10: Take some you time

Don’t forget to take a break from all the madness. Watch your favourite TV show, read a good book, Tweet me on Twitter (or OSGMOM!), or catch up on your fav. blogs.

Most of all please stay safe on the roads and cherish your time with your family. My family lives on opposite sides of the country now and I used to take for granted the holidays that we spent together. I miss them so much!


Do you get stressed out around the holidays?

Have any funny holiday stories to share or ways you beat stress?


1) Breaking News: Sketchie started a blog!

2) Whittle My Middle Update: We are half way through!!! I am happy to report that I have made some huge progress with my core strength in just 2 weeks. I am totally going to stick with this challenge! Also note: I am now doing side planks with a bent arm- thank you for the tip- they are much easier on my wrists! I actually find they work the oblique’s better too! I am still doing the full plank with extended arms though for variety.

3) Don’t forget to check out my guest post on Daily Spark! I talk about how I beat my eating disorder and started up Glo Bakery.


It’s 10:20pm and I’m off to squeeze in my workout after a very busy day!!!

Let's get social! Follow Angela on Instagram @ohsheglows, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest

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{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

Mary :: A Merry Life November 25, 2009 at 11:10 pm

Great tips Angela!!! I tend to get stressed around the holidays because I know there is usually some kind of conflict that goes along with all the fun stuff, so I make sure I take care of myself before I get stressed. I am all for # 7 – I love a little exercise for stress relief!


Bridget November 25, 2009 at 11:17 pm

Some excellent info Ange! I do stress a little during the holidays but I find that doing things sooner than later helps me avoid the stress


Jessica @ How Sweet It Is November 25, 2009 at 11:24 pm

Love the tips, Ange!! :)


Lisa November 25, 2009 at 11:34 pm

What a great post Angela! I particularly like your comments to “be true to yourself” and “maintain a routine”. I find it such a challenge over the holidays to keep a routine – but this season I am determined to!


Kristie Lynn November 25, 2009 at 11:40 pm

A 10:20pm workout? Nuts!!! :)


Casey Leigh November 25, 2009 at 11:48 pm

I ♥ this post! Nice tips.

I plan on taking the fam for a walk after our Thanksgiving feast.

Cool to see your mom on Twitter and Sketchie’s action photo blog. :)


Dave Mulder November 25, 2009 at 11:50 pm

I can definitely vouch for sweating out the stress. It’s tough, but there’s no better way to channel frustration/stress than with a great workout :)


Jolene November 26, 2009 at 12:05 am

The holidays don’t stress me out. What stresses me out is being in school,in my last class, writing my last paper (thesis) and working full time as a teacher all day during the holidays, when all I want to do is be DONE school and go Christmas shopping, and decorate my house and bake cookies. End rant.


AGS November 26, 2009 at 7:24 am

Last year was like this for me. You can do it. Just repeat to yourself: “This will be over very, very soon.” And do set aside 1-2 evenings to do something entirely different (this will help with sanity). Good luck!!!


Ameena November 26, 2009 at 12:15 am

Really great ideas. It is especially difficult when people say things about what I eat or don’t eat…I like your suggestion on how to get around that!


Anna November 26, 2009 at 12:17 am

Thanks for the holiday stress reduction reminders. I especially like number 4 – I liked how my mom handled that situation tonight – just a quick “I’m not eating meat these days, but the salad and potatoes look delicious and I’m heating up some beans so I’m all set.” It was such a quick and easy answer that kept the conversation moving and didn’t cause the person who fixed dinner to worry/fixate over the lack of meat consumption.
I hope you have a great week!


Danielle November 26, 2009 at 12:34 am

Thank you so much for posting these tips! I get stressed during the holiday season trying to see all of the family because my husband and I are from the same hometown. You’d think it’d be easier but because our families live so close together (only a 20 min. drive separates them) we are expected to split the time evenly – and sometimes I wish that we could just stay with one family or the other to give them our full attention instead of shuttling between them both. I am thankful that we get to spend time with our family for the holidays, but it certainly has driven me crazy in the past.

This year I’ve decided that we will do the best we can to see everyone and they just need to accept that.


Whole Body Love November 26, 2009 at 1:26 am

Great advice! I totally agree with waiting until after dinner to talk about why you don’t eat certain foods. I cannot imagine explaining why I don’t eat hormone and antibiotic laden turkey to a person who is eating it in front of me that very moment. Manners are key in both sides of the equation.


Julie @savvyeats November 26, 2009 at 2:00 am

I’ve been doing WMM 4 days a week, and love it!


deisegirl November 26, 2009 at 7:18 am

whenever I am travelling somewhere in the car I like to pack a lot too! I brought a lot of food home with me the last time I went because I knew the food there would just completely throw me off track. It was no big deal, I just used up what I wanted, and then packed up what I didn’t for use back in my own house. I skidded off the track a little but it was just a minor incident as opposed to full blown crashes I have had on previous occasions!

Next time I’m going I’m travelling by train though so I need to prioritise..eep!


Eliana >^..^ November 26, 2009 at 7:27 am

Thanks for this post, I will use some of your tips. Today I will be eating thanksgiving dinner at my favorite vegan restaurant, and I already got so many comments on why I was doing that. People are SO annoying sometimes, why can’t they just be supportive!??! Argh.

Sketchie’s blog is too cute, I already put it on my RSS feed. Seeing his pictures makes me want to draw or paint him. ;o)

Have a wonderful day! I will send you an email later, I have SO much to tell you. ;o)


AGS November 26, 2009 at 7:39 am

Thank you for these excellent tips. I love the one about “you are an adult” — so true, and yet so funny.

I noticed recently that the difficulty for me is the issue of routine. There are so many extra events that I need to go to for work in the evenings, and all involve talking with clients and higher-level colleagues, and it is very, very tiring after a 9-hour day to stand around in heals and talk shop for another 3 hours (with lots of alcohol, of course!). I simply don’t have time to relax as I normally would.

I initially thought I’d deal with this by committing to a couple of priority things each day. Then I actually wrote out my schedule in detail for two weeks, and realized this was unreasonable. I scaled back and simply said: I will exercise 5x/week, and keep lots of apples as snacks by my desk. That’s it! By letting myself off the hook, and realizing I simply couldn’t capture all those hours I was losing each evening, I felt a little lighter.


VeggieGirl November 26, 2009 at 8:27 am

Awesome tips!! Thank you, dear Angela!


Kristin (runningsongs) November 26, 2009 at 8:33 am

These are all such great tips – and not just for Thanksgiving! :)

I’m loving whittle my middle too – I’ve been doing core work 4-ish times a week, and it really is making a difference!


Tiffanie November 26, 2009 at 8:52 am

Hey girl!!! I got up this morning and did my 3 mile run.

This is the first Thanksgiving that I won’t be “wrecking” my waistline with horrible eats! So excited about that!


Tiffanie November 26, 2009 at 8:57 am

Hey girl!!! I got up this morning and did my 3 mile run.

This is the first Thanksgiving that I won’t be “wrecking” my waistline with horrible eats! So excited about that!

Just read your article on Daily Spark…great job! Great article. Can totally relate!


Laura Georgina November 26, 2009 at 9:18 am

Thanks for the tips! It’s a quiet (non-going-home) Thanksgiving for me, but I’ll save these up for Christmas, which promises to be a challenge (but still super fun) this year.

North Carolina?? I was a Chapel Hill girl for three years! And giiiirl, it took YEARS to shake the Southern accent–still can’t watch Gone with the Wind without reverting back to it for days and days :-)


Melinda November 26, 2009 at 9:46 am

Great tips. I usually don’t get too stressed. Often my holiday (since I’m Jewish) is before everyone elses so my stuff is done and over with. Never too crazy for me. Thanks for the T day wishes.


Melanie (Melbo19) November 26, 2009 at 11:24 am

The Sketchie blog rocks! My husband is going to it right now…now you can pick up a demographic that may not be apt to read this blog (male cat lovers!). Thanks for the tips; I’m going to need them in a big way today and tomorrow!


Emily November 26, 2009 at 12:02 pm

Hey Ange, I watched Food Inc Last night – makes me want to be a vegetarian. I almost cried watching how they treat animals.


Eliana >^..^ November 26, 2009 at 1:35 pm

Going vegetarian is the best thing ever. I was vegetarian for over 3 years and now I went vegan. I feel SO good, like a million bucks.

Good luck.


blissfulbellas November 26, 2009 at 12:07 pm

Happy thanksgiving Angela. I stumbled on to your site and I just love it. You are an inspiration and I loved this post. Thanks for the wonderful advice!


skinnyrunner November 26, 2009 at 1:06 pm

great tips! have a wonderful day!!


Madelin @ What is for breakfast? November 26, 2009 at 7:07 pm

I think these are really great tips Ange!


Jacqueline November 29, 2009 at 10:57 pm

Stumbled upon this site and love it. Great post about a timely topic. It’s funny that you write ” sweat out the stress”. I have never seen this phrase used before — but it so aptly sums up the effect that exercise has for me. I’m trying to find various resources on holiday stress to send to someone (who is, yes, stressed), but you might enjoy this other article I found about holiday stress and health. Did you know that for some women, menopause symptoms grow worse during the holidays due to stress? Here it is… Women to Women: Avoiding holiday stress


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