Avoiding Holiday Stress, and Avoid Stress Eating

Avoiding Holiday Stress!

The holiday season is a hectic period for most; everyone is scurrying around finding ways to accomplish many things to celebrate the holiday season with. It most certainly is a period of cheerfulness as well as pleasure.Holidays and Family stress

It can also be a period of stress coupled with exhaustion. When you include all the shopping around, cooking, wrapping of gifts, packing of gifts, shipping of gifts, errands and also traveling to the already tight schedules of a good number of business owners, it’s not very difficult to soon reach a point of meltdown.

No surprise when all of the festivities ends, you feel worn down, spent, and perhaps even unwell. Stress alone isn’t that threatening. It is rather our response to stress that results in health-related problems.

Getting through the holidays stress free?!?!?!  Is there such a thing as avoiding holiday stress?

Some are very excited and happy and love any opportunity to be with their families.  There is a good percentage of people in my experience that do not look forward to family gatherings.Are you really awake

Are you going to be traveling somewhere, the stress of getting the right flight, train, route at the right price on the perfect day and time is enough stress to really put you over the edge. 🙂

Are you preparing a big meal for the family to eat at your house?  This is stressful, what to cook, can you satisfy all the dietary needs of all your guests?  Do you have enough dishes, space, food and so it goes on.  Stress!!!!!!!  How can you avoid it really?

Avoiding holiday stress can be overwhelming and a task that many may not achieve.  There are many factors that cause stress when families get together for celebrations.  These celebrations can be for vacations, birthdays, anniversaries, wedding, christenings, funerals and so it goes on.  Throughout the year there are many occasions for families to get together.  Many occasions to get stressed.

Holiday time………Happy? Sad? Anxious? Fearful?

Holiday celebrations are usually a time when famHow do I get through the holidaysilies and friends get together and celebrate. Living rooms are full of people some which have traveled miles and miles to get there. Looking forward to being together again and being as one.

But….. some people in the room are not feeling it, they feel lonely, depressed, scared, anxious and the people around them do not even notice.  Avoiding holiday stress seems too overwhelming.

Family histories dictate the mood of the gathering and people become very anxious and nervous waiting for things to explode.

Blended families also have challenges, the children now have 2 sets of families and either have to choose which family to be with or have two gatherings on the same day. The blend depending on how well it was handled at inception will determine how things pan out at gatherings. Compromise should be the word of the day here.

Thanksgiving Holiday is about giving thanks for what we have .Thanksgiving  Sometimes we are not thankful for what we have because what we have is unhappy, abusive, depressing, painful, financially a struggle and much more. How can you avoid holiday stress with all that going on.  Also this is where we tend to eat emotionally.  Eating even though we are not hungry but we have to do something. Thanksgiving is not the only holiday where we have the emotions and emotional eating.  Any family gathering can be called a holiday of some kind.

Our Inner Child,  plays a big part in the proceedings and we act out with the re-creation of the emotions we felt as children growing up. We are triggered by a look, a smell, a voice or a discussion about a family memory.

Some people have many choices and are happily enjoying these choices, but there are some people, who through a sense of duty, guilt or loyalty have to be somewhere they really do not want to be. You can get through this and do not have to live the rest of your life dreading every family gathering.

What can you do?

Stay in control, if you can do something about the situation then do it, if you cannot do anything about the situation then accept it and dismiss it out of your thoughts. Walk away from the person who is causing you the emotion.  If possible give yourself a time limit of when you are going to be at the event and then leave before it becomes too stressful for you.  Avoiding holiday stress and family stress is not always the best option because when you avoid something you are not dealing with the challenge and therefore it will always be there.

Do not put yourself in a situation where you are alone and vulnerable.

Before the Occasion

Seek professional help to overcome these feelings.  As always I recommend learning Emotional Freedom Techniques, which you can use before the event and also during the occasion to keep yourself calm and stress-free.

Many of my clients have stories to tell, I myself can tell you a few!!!  I continually work on my feelings from my childhood but I also notice the children around me and can see the signs and go out of my way to help them.

I continually work on my feelings from my childhood but I also notice the children around me and can see the signs and go out of my way to help them. Since time began children have been going through all sorts of abuse, loneliness, and emotional traumas. Many grow up and repeat what they had done to them and many change the way they think children should be treated.

If you see the children in your family looking as though they are fearful of the people around them, be the person they can trust and share the secret they are not allowed to Child Suicideshare.  Be there for them even if there was nobody there for you.

IF you have found this post of benefit please share with others so they may benefit also. Thank you.


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  1. Reply

    You’ve really hit the nail on the head about how I feel about holidays! While the occasions themselves are joyous, the rest is tremendously anxiety inducing. I especially struggle with handling who we spend the holidays with, because between my hubby’s family and mine, we have four different family groups. Since they don’t mix, and don’t all even live in the same areas, we have to choose between them. Unfortunately, however we choose, there are hurt feelings and we end up feeling guilty instead of enjoying the holidays. Any tips for handling this specifically? It sure would be nice to avoid stress eating this year!

    • Reply

      Yes that is one of the big ones!!! I would suggest either one year at one the next year at the other or split it up over one on the actual day and one at the week-end either before or after. Whatever you decide do what is best for you, if you consider everyone’s feelings then you are not going to please all of them. Please yourself.

  2. Reply

    Stress during the holiday season is definitely real. There is so much going on from the shopping, having to be in numerous places practically at the same time, and not to mention being torn between visiting numerous family members.

    You have given some great pointers on how to combat this stress and I have bookmarked this article because it can be helpful with the upcoming holidays. It is a great tool to help us manage our feelings during the holiday season.

    Thanks for sharing.

  3. Reply

    Definitely the best advice is to stay in control and walk away! I try not to let the holidays stress me. I find it a joyful time and just try to enjoy. Can’t change anything, have to make the best of anything. That can include holidays with relatives, or even without. That is the experience for my son and me. It is usually just the two of us, and that makes me feel kind of lonely. But we make the best of it and have fun with our own little traditions 🙂

  4. Matt


    I’m not a parent as of yet, but I remember when I was a child the worries and stress, these times of year had on my parents. There is so much to consider to make it stress free, let alone trying to get the time off of work for holidays. Its a great post and a great read. Nicely laid out too. I will try to remember all of this for when I have children of my own.

    • Reply

      Thank you, you do not have children some of what I was referring to was our inner child which comes out when we are with family. Holidays being the time that families get together more.

  5. Penelope


    few experiences stress people out more than holidays. maybe moving or starting a new job, but I can’t think of many others! and yet, it’s something we need to do every year, several times a year. thanks for the great suggestions on how to keep it together during these important but stressful times.

  6. Reply

    I’ve learned to take it easy the older I get. I realize that the great memories aren’t of how perfect everything is, but the way you made people feel. That realization helped me a ton with the holiday stress.

    • helenvella


      You are so right your values and beliefs change as you get older and the stress of any family gathering diminishes.

  7. Reply

    It is my first Christmas in the states and people here go a little more crazy than in Germany. I still enjoy this season and take it easy on buying gifts. For me it is not stress eating, more like fun eating all the Christmas cookies 🙂

    • Reply

      Fun eating is good 🙂 I hope you enjoy your first Christmas here in the states not sure if you will be cold or warm depending on what state you live in.

  8. Reply

    I’m stressed about this upcoming Christmas as both my partners family and mine will be having a massive joined Christmas. SO much food to prepare etc.

    • Reply

      Deep breaths and one thing at a time. I am sure you can prepare days in advance some of the items so you are not overwhelmed on the actual day. 🙂

  9. Reply

    helen,thanks for the information.one way to cope with stress is to not turn up!call and say your car is broken down,or a close friend has gone to hospital.not going is a way to relieve stress.
    sooner or later,a meeting/get together will happen though.
    thanks again

    • Reply

      Yes that can be a solution but will only relieve the stress temporarily. The whole reason for the stress in the first place need to be addressed.

  10. Reply

    Hi Helen,

    I’m so grateful and blessed to have a loving and caring family. My husband and I look forward to seeing all our children and grandchildren at Christmas time; my siblings and I have our monthly conference calls to just catch up and make plans for our next get together – it’s great. Our problem is … all that food!!

    But I also know other people are not so fortunate. Christmas is a time where some people are the most stressed. Some people are alone at Christmas; some are poor and can’t afford gifts for their children or even a descent meal for their families on most other days let alone Christmas. So I think it’s great that people are doing their best to help, and like many families, we do what we can to help, whether it be our time or money it all helps.

    It’s very sad, in New Zealand poverty and homelessness are very real and recently a new group of people have emerged “the working poor”. These are hardworking people struggling to make ends meet. Perhaps Wealthy Affiliate could be a solution for some of these ones.

    Thanks for sharing Helen.

    • Reply

      I am so pleased to hear about your wonderful family and how you all keep in touch with each other. It is very sad about the working poor it is the same in the USA and other countries too. WA would help but people need to be motivated to join and work at it.

  11. Mike


    Great post I tend to overeat less because of stress and more because I seem to just eat as part of the holiday. I don’t feel full until it’s too late. Thanks.

  12. Reply

    Thanks for the reminder! I have begun to stress out a bit because I don’t have much left over for Christmas presents 🙁 I will try and not think about it too much!

  13. Reply

    Yes!! This time of year is the worst time for stress. Not to mention all the lunches and Christmas dinners and family gatherings you will go to. I really love it when the holidays are over! LOL

  14. Joe


    Hi Helen!
    Stress eating grrrrrrr! And all that candy during the holidays is brutal. It is so bad to let stress affect your eating… over-eating and junk-food digestion is stressful by itself so it doubles your troubles!
    (Don’t ask me how I know)
    Thanks for another great article.
    – Joe

  15. Reply

    I really dread this time of year and the rushing around. It does stress me out. I’ve started to work out and make sure I burn some energy every day. It’s all the driving that freaks me out. Thanks for providing some tips on how to deal with this stuff. Really well done.

    Cheers, Peter!

    • Reply

      Hi Peter, the driving can be an issue depending if you live in a big city. Where I am we get all the snowbirds so people are driving around that have no idea where they are going this is stressful 🙂 Glad I could provide some tips for you to use.

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