How to cope with the financial stress of the Holiday Season

Nov 18, 2019 | Financial Education, Wellness | 2 comments

The holidays are a magical time of year for most of us- but that magic often comes with stress that can leave you feeling a little less Buddy the Elf and a bit more Ebenezer Scrooge.

There are many reasons we get stressed during the holidays – from unrealistic expectations, obligations, financial concerns and missing loved ones to excessive commitments. We all have a lot coming at us even though it is supposed to be the “happiest season of all”. These common holiday stressors can often lead to anxiety and depression. Symptoms include difficulty sleeping, headaches, overeating, over drinking, easily agitated and short-tempered.

So how do we deal with this stress in a way that is healthy? Here are 7 ideas for how to deal with these emotions and still enjoy the holiday season.

How to Cope with Holiday stress this season

  • Take care of yourself. During the hustle and bustle of the holidays it can be easy to fall in to unhealthy habits like over eating or drinking too much alcohol and not enough water. But don’t throw the diet or exercise plan completely out the window because it’s the holiday season. Continue taking care of yourself by eating right, drinking enough water and staying active.

  • Get outside. Bundle up and get some fresh air! Spending time outside helps you process the complexities of life and lets you connect with nature. Spending just 20 minutes outside at a park or on a trail is proven to make you happier!

  • Consider a “no gift” policy this year. Ask anyone over the age of 12 what their favorite thing is about the holidays and more than likely they will not say gifts. They’ll say family, friends, music and meaningful traditions. So have a family meeting and discuss a “no gift” or a “homemade gift” policy with a spending limit. It may just be the most meaningful celebration yet!

  • Be mindful. Do not let the spirit of the holiday whisk you away to the point of over-commitment and financial strain. As you plan for and celebrate your holidays, incorporate a mindful approach to your celebrations that will help keep your stress levels low and your actions intentional.

  • Start a journal. Writing in a journal helps you self-reflect and relieve stress you experienced throughout your day. Make it a calming ritual by lighting scented candles, brewing some calming tea and turning on some gentle music to ease your mind and relax deeply.

  • Find a confidant. When times are stressful it can be difficult to deal with all that is going on in your life on your own. Find someone in your community – a friend, family member or therapist who you can talk to about what you are feeling. Sometimes just verbalizing our problems, makes them smaller.

  • Avoid Coffee and Alcohol. These two wreak havoc on your nervous system, exacerbate feelings of stress and anxiety and keep you from getting a good nights sleep. With a metabolic half life of 6 hours, high levels of caffeine are still within your system well after your last cup at 3pm. This can lead to difficultly sleeping on it’s own, but many adults tend to try and counter act the stimulant with a “night cap”. Unfortunately, alcohol also prevents you from reaching REM as you try to get the rest you need. The next morning the process repeats itself, when you reach for the coffee mug once more. So dial back on the coffee and booze and improve your rest along with decreasing your stress levels.

Have any other ideas for how to deal with the stress of the holidays? Comment below! We would love to hear how you get through all the hustle and bustle with a cool head.


  1. Kenzie Sosa

    I love all these tips!! Thanks so much Rebecca &Dylan for the helpful reminders during this upcoming busy season!
    One thing I would add to the “Find a confidant” is to not forget about those long distance relationships with loved ones and siblings (I got some all the way in Arizona!) &that a phone call to and from those that are far away, always warms the heart. Even though they may not be able to be physically around for the holidays, the sound of someone’s voice can be just as heart warming!

  2. Michael Stisi

    Great advise! I have used several of these (first four) over the years to much success and fun holiday times with family and friends. Thank you!!!


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