Staying Sane During the Holidays

How do we focus on the meaningful and not the frenzied part of the holidays?

The holiday season felt magical when we were kids, but it’s become more stressful as we’ve gotten older.

Last Christmas season, Melia told her husband that the holidays used to be her favorite time of year but now she dreads them. Darren responded, “That’s not acceptable to me. What can we do about that?”

Good question! We’ve spent some time thinking about strategies that help us enjoy this time of year, instead of treating it like an endless to-do list.


Steal This Tip: Special Holiday Edition

In this extended holiday edition, we share a roundup of tips that help us keep stress down during the holidays. We hope you’ll find them useful, as well!


1. Make time for the meaningful.

Carve out time for the activities and traditions that are most joyful or fulfilling for you at this time of year.

2. Buy the cookies (or the crust).

When faced with a task you’re dreading, ask, “Why am I doing this?” If you can’t think of a good answer, simplify it or let it go. It’s okay to buy the cookies for the school luncheon, or use store-bought crusts for holiday pies!


3. Scale back on gift-giving stress.

Opt for consumable or experiential gifts, or find a gift to make or buy for the whole family (like the photo magnets Melia has customized through Shutterfly).

4. Establish new traditions.

Whether you’re living on your own, with roommates, or with a partner and/or kids, think about the traditions from your family that you’d like to continue, and new ones you’d like to create.

5. Use “getting your steps” as an excuse for getting some time alone.

Go for a walk to get some fresh air and take a break from big social activities. Spend time alone, or catch up one-on-one with a loved one.

6. Start early.

Even when you narrow down the items on your holiday to-do list, the short timeline can make you frantic. Start early (before Thanksgiving if you can) to spread tasks out.


Get It Together / Got It Together

In this segment, we each share a Get It Together (something that needs work in our lives) and Got It Together (something that’s going well).

Gill’s Get it Together: Eating lots of rich holiday foods and not many vegetables
Gill’s Got It Together: Getting wedding photo albums printed

Melia’s Get It Together: Recalibrating eating and drinking habits post-weaning
Melia’s Got It Together: Air travel mindfulness on a recent trip


Get in Touch

What do you love about this time of year? What stresses you out? What tips do you have to share for staying sane? We want to hear your experiences and advice! Tell us at podcast [at] semitogether.com. And we’d truly appreciate it if you’d subscribe, rate, and review this podcast wherever you listen.