Don’t Break under Holiday Stress

The holiday season can be a busy time: purchasing gifts; decorating; attending parties; visiting friends and family. It’s easy to get lost in the whirlwind of activities. To keep stress from overwhelming you, here are some tips to help you cope:

Budget. Understand what your financial position is and make a budget for buying gifts. Consider alternative gifting ideas, such as Secret Santa, to limit the number of gifts to buy.

Plan. Make a plan of when you are going to complete activities and what events you are going to attend. Include extra time for travel. Keep things simple and pace yourself. Don’t forget to schedule time for yourself to rest, re-set and practice self-care.

Be realistic. Understand your limits; you can’t do everything. Make a priority list and focus on those items that are most important to you. Consider appropriate compromises, such as visiting one family each holiday instead of everyone at once, or stay one night with family instead of the whole weekend.

Ask for help. Share the responsibilities. Recruit family or friends to help set up for events or pick up gifts.

Focus on you. Think about what the holidays mean to you. Seek out supportive and caring people that you can express your feelings to. Do something that makes you happy, whether it be a winter hobby, joining a group or volunteering. Don’t feel guilty for saying no to things you don’t want to do. Try not to compare yourself with others, whether in person or on social media. Stay in the present moment. Give yourself credit for what you’ve accomplished. Embrace your emotions and don’t bury them with food or alcohol.

Be prepared. Anticipate awkward or uncomfortable social interactions and practice how you are going to handle them. Take your own vehicle to events so that you don’t have to wait on others to leave. Acknowledge that you can’t control everything and things will happen differently than you’ve planned.

If at any time you feel like you can no longer handle the stress, please reach out to Brain Care Centre or one of the following resources:

  • Distress Line

780-482-4357 (Edmonton) or 1‑800-232-7288

  • Mental Health Help Line


  • Community Urgent Services & Stabilization Team


  • Kids Help Phone (5-20 yrs)


  • Momentum Walk-in Counselling


  • The Family Centre


  • Community Services Information

2-1-1 (Edmonton) or 780‑482-4636

Written By: Anna Maine

Anna Maine graduated from the University of Alberta with a double major in English and Psychology. She currently works as an Office Administrator for an engineering company in Edmonton.