• 61% of people report feeling stressed often or sometimes during the holidays
  • 69% of people are stressed by the feeling of having a “lack of time” during the holidays
  • 51% are stressed out about the “pressure to give or get gifts”
  • 69% of people are stressed by having a “lack of money”

(Lombardo, 2017)

Holiday Stress… Fact or Fiction

The holiday season is often filled with family, friends, and fun. Millions of people take part in holiday festivities and engage in travel, gift giving and hosting. These factors along with others can increase holiday stress as well as worsen anxiety, and depression. Feeling overwhelmed due to packed calendars and gift expectations despite financial burdens can make the holiday season difficult to balance (O’Day, 2017). Managing additional stressors including complicated family dynamics and the absence of loved ones can add to stress, and frustration. If common holiday stressors are not proactively addressed individuals can become triggered which exacerbates stressors, symptoms, and negative coping strategies (Maharaj, 2018).The strain can lead to relieving stress by turning to unhealthy activities such as smoking, drinking, or emotional eating (American Psychological Association, 2019). Managing your mental health during the holidays is important and often starts with self- care and support. Research shows that utilizing support during the holidays can help manage stress (Riddle, 2019). Taking steps to manage holiday stress by recognizing triggers and utilizing healthy coping strategies and boundaries can aid in finding peace and joy during the holidays.

Healthy Holiday Boundaries Include…

  1. Say “no” without guilt.
  2. Ask for what you want or need.
  3. Spend time with supportive people.
  4. Take care of your physical, emotional and spiritual needs.
  5. Say “yes” because you want to, not out of obligations or to please others.
  6. Be empowered to skip, go late, or leave early to holiday parties.

(Martin, 2015)


  “Surviving the Stresses” (2019). Surviving the stresses of the holiday season: a guide. [Blog post]. Retrieved from

   American psychological association holiday stress resource center (2019).  Retrieved from

   Lombardo, E. (2017, September 7). Crush holiday stress: Have a better than perfect holiday. [Blog post]. Retrieved from

   Maharaj, J. (2018, December 2018). Avoiding holiday stressors: tips for a stress-free season. [Blog post]. Retrieved from

   Martin, S. (2015, December 8). Don’t let the holidays become an excuse for poor boundaries. [Blog post]. Retrieved from

   O’Day, C. (2017, December 17). Managing your mental health during the holidays. [Blog post]. Retrieved from

   Riddle, J. (2019, March 28). Holiday stress: how to cope. [Blog post], Retrieved from