top of page

Holiday Survival Guide

Did you know that there are over 39 holidays and observances in December, including the biggies, Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa and Boxing Day (in my house, at least)? From World AIDS Day on December 1, National Cookie Day on the 4th, National Cocoa Day (13th) and the Winter Solstice on December 21, we have plenty of activities to get involved in in this month. In addition to shopping, decorating, entertaining, and finalizing year-end projects at work, it’s a wonder we get any sleep this month.

Not only are we busy but we also get into “stress mode” trying to achieve the impossible task of having the perfect Christmas tree, family dinner, attending holiday concerts, and baking sweets for all of the celebrations. We also want to look and feel our best, but we just feel exhausted by the endless list of priorities.

So how do we survive the holidays, keep the stress level down to a minimum, and actually enjoy ourselves this December?

Luckily, I have been reading a book, “Master of Change” by Brad Stulberg, which posits how best to handle change with a minimum of stress. By adopting a different mindset, identity, and actions we can better navigate the inevitable change we experience in life. He calls it "rugged flexibility". How timely, and I highly recommend you check it out at your local library.

Here are my tips for beating holiday stress this year, that I have gleaned from my own experience, years of coaching through this holiday season, and my daily mindfulness practice:

Stick to the plan: If you have an established routine of getting to bed on time, exercising regularly and eating more healthy foods, do your best to stick with it, amidst all of the chaos. You will feel more in control, if you stick to habits that support you. To keep you on track with your meals, here are some recipes that are quick and easy.

quick-n-easy-program-for-the-busy-holiday-season - subscribe Nov 23
Download PDF • 5.24MB


Make a schedule: Set up certain days for decorating, baking, and getting those cards out. It also helps to plan your meals, and do some meal prep one day per week. If you have participated in any of my 5-day resets, you know the value of prepping. If you haven’t yet, don’t worry, we have the Winter Reset coming up in January (here’s a peek!)

Remember the reason for the season: The aim of the holiday season is often tied to helping others in need, and being grateful for all that we have. When we step outside of ourselves, and bond with other people in meaningful ways, we have an opportunity to experience gratitude, and learn something about ourselves in the process. Probably many of you do this already, however take the time to connect more fully in the present moment to your action, rather than just ticking it off a list. Much more gratifying, promise.

Give yourself time to mourn: Sometimes we can get incredibly sad thinking of the people who are no longer here at this time of year. The loss of a spouse, parent or pet can make us feel despondent as the holidays can make us keenly feel this hurt. Let yourself feel them, grieve fully. And of course, if you are still feeling down, check in with your therapist for a quick chat.

Be kind to yourself: You are not a robot, and you can’t do everything perfectly, so relinquish that impossible goal. Take time for yourself this season by booking a massage, a mani-pedi, or a fresh haircut. Or order yourself a sample of organic skincare products to try out.

Not into that kind of self-care? Well, take yourself to a movie that you want to see, complete with the buttery popcorn and candy. Enjoy yourself, whatever you choose to unwind!

Stick to your budget: I know this is the time of year when we can go overboard on gifts for our loved ones, but don’t do it. Stress is real when it comes to money. Set a budget and stick to it, you will appreciate it come January when you don’t have daunting credit card bills. Get creative instead with gifting. Some of the best gifts are ones that the other person knows comes from your heart. The gift of spending time, particularly with an older relative, can be priceless.

Don’t forget about the “post-season”. Once you come down from the highs of all the celebrating, don’t succumb to a rigid plan to get into shape and lose weight. When you decide you are now going to deny yourself any sweets after a month of merriment, you may find it hard to stick to the plan. Same goes for joining a gym in January; start small and just start walking first. Ease into your habits, one at a time, for better long-term success.

And if you want to find out how to reduce sugar cravings, especially in midlife, sign up for my upcoming free online workshop Sweet Surrender: A Holiday Sugar Detox Plan for 45+ Women

bottom of page