Five Ways to Enjoy the Holidays without All the Stress

‘Tis the season to be jolly! …and totally stressed out and exhausted. For many, many years, I thought that stress was just a part of the holidays. So many parties, gatherings, and commitments—along with all of the shopping. It was downright exhausting.

I would look back to the holidays of my childhood when all I had to do was enjoy the magic of the season. I loved the holidays and looked forward to it all year.

Of course, that couldn’t last forever. Eventually, I had to take on my own shopping, driving, and organizing. A basic rite of adulthood. And with that came a pile of expectations and stress. I felt stretched too thin and my love of the holidays was exchanged with just trying to cope with it all.
Now, I’m happy to say that, by making a few small changes, I’ve been able to find that holiday magic again.
Read on for my tips on lowering your stress levels during the holidays:

1. Consume less alcohol

Having a drink or two at a party can be fun, but having too much can be very draining. And it can be tempting to have one or two too many because alcohol can also be relaxing. Simple trick: Have a glass of water or club soda with lime between drinks. You’ll still have a drink in your hand, but you’ll easily cut down on how much you drink.

2. Take advantage of the veggie tray

Holiday food is amazing, and it’s easy to overindulge in all of those foods you love that only come around once a year. It’s tempting to eat a lot of sweets and junk food at this time of the year… and food hangovers are never fun. Simple trick: Hit the veggie tray first. Veggies will fill you up a bit while also giving your body a nice boost of nutrients and energy. Your body won’t mind some sugar after that.

3. Get some sleep

One sleepless night is hard enough to recover from. A few weeks of not enough sleep can steal your enjoyment of the holidays. Simple trick: Set a bedtime and stick to it. Leaving a party a bit early can make the rest of the week so much easier. If you’re still wide awake after all of the fun, try a cup of Flora’s Sleep Well (US) / Sleep ZZZ (CA) tea or some Sleep-Essence (US/CA).

4. Help your body adapt

Just the change in our day-to-day schedule can be hard on our body. Adaptogenic herbs can help your body adapt to these changes and ease you through the season. Simple trick: Have a cup of tea every day. I would go for Flora’s Holy Basil tea (US/CA). If you need something stronger, try their Holy Basil (CA) capsules. It’s my favorite tea during stressful times.

5. Say no to at least one party (especially if you’re exhausted)

This is by far the hardest one, but it can make a big difference. Your friends and family want you to be happy too and will be okay if you miss one gathering. (Not-quite-so) simple trick: decide which parties are the most important for you to attend and prioritize those. If I’m invited to a gathering that would make it harder for me to enjoy my priority gatherings, I politely decline. And I’ve noticed that my friends and family prefer to see me happy and relaxed and miss me at one gathering then watch me progressively get frazzled with each day.
How do you handle the holidays? Do you have any tips or tricks to ease through this busy season? We’d love to hear them! Share them on social with @florahealthy.
Lisa Kilgour is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist (RHN), founder of, and a faculty member at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition