Are You Feeling Holiday Stress Here Are Some Tips

In honor of our beloved former Content Marketing Coordinator Melody Spurney, who left us with so many words of wisdom and practical advice, we share her insightful article on stress reduction, a topic she passionately explored for the benefit of all. – Jasmin Murphy

By Melody Spurney

Those who have been following Health Hunters this year, and through the years, know that stress is a common theme. Stress can impact both physical and mental health, and studies show – and many people can personally understand – that the holiday season can add to stress.
US News & World Report shared results of a poll by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) that showed 31% of Americans anticipate being more stressed this holiday season than last year. [1]

Several studies, including the APA, said that finances are a primary source of stress during the holidays. Women disproportionately feel stressed around the holidays, with 44 percent of women reporting an increase of holiday stress, compared to 31 percent of men. Greater responsibilities, such as shopping, cooking, cleaning, and planning celebrations during the holidays may contribute to women’s increased stress levels.

Additionally, lower middle income people ($30,000-$50,000 annual household income) are more likely to report an increase of holiday stress. People who report their stress increases around the holidays are more likely than others to worry about money and buying gifts. They also report worrying about finding time to get everything done. [2]

The holidays also offer people an increased opportunity to engage in unhealthy behaviors and report an increase in participating in sedentary activities such as watching more TV and sleeping to manage stress. Increased drinking and comfort eating is common around the holidays. While comfort eating increases for both men and women, women were nearly twice as likely as men to report doing so. [2]

In a separate study by Sleepopolis, eight in 10 Americans reported an increase in stress during the holiday season. Survey results showed that 32.3 percent of women typically get less sleep, while a lesser number of men (21.8 percent) said the same. More than 15 percent of men said they get more sleep during the holidays. [3]

Tips for De-Stressing During the Holidays

  • Be realistic about expectations.
    • Prioritize activities you enjoy.
    • Prioritize sleep.
    • Plan as early as possible for travel and celebrations.
    • Itemize a shopping list for each person and set a realistic budget.
    • Eat a healthy snack before attending a party.
    • Put food on a plate and prioritize fresh vegetables. Avoid eating handfuls of anything.
    • If you overeat, go back to your normal routine the next day.
    • If you are hosting a party, consider a buffet of simple food rather than a sit-down dinner.
    • Buy non-perishable items in advance.
    • Cook ahead if possible.
    • Hire a helper.


How to relieve Holiday Stress | U.S. news – US news health. (n.d.).
Holiday Stress Report Final – American Psychological Association (APA). (n.d.-a).
Holiday Stress and sleep in 2023: A Data Study. Sleepopolis. (2023, November 17).