• Healthy for the Holidays: Mayo says ‘planning, practice, positivity’ keys to overcoming holiday stress

woman screaming due to holiday stress

ST. JAMES, Minn. – The holiday season is upon us once again, and we all know how easy it is to get caught up in the stress and chaos of it all.

Already demanding lives become even more hectic as Thanksgiving cooking rolls into hectic shopping and then preparation for holiday events. For many people, the result can be overwhelming.

"The key here is to get ahead of the stress as much as possible by developing a plan," says Julie Pace, nurse practitioner, Mayo Clinic Health System in St. James. "Know what your big hurdles are each season, understand that this time of year is simply going to be more chaotic for many of us, and face that stress head on."

Remind yourself of when you overcame difficult times to help bolster your confidence. Build on this by broadening the sense of your abilities with the three Ps: planning, practice and positivity.

1. Make a PLAN for the holidays.

Instead of planning to de-stress from the inevitable, try to embrace the hectic holidays by prepping for a busy holiday season. Making a list (and checking it twice) now while you have the time can make this holiday season the most relaxing and enjoyable yet.

2. PRACTICE holiday resilience by asking yourself these questions:

  • What resources do you need to feel confident about facing the upcoming season?
  • Who will support you when needed?
  • What would you like to remember about this season after it's done?
  • If you knew this was your last holiday, what would you prioritize?
  • What barriers to joy and happiness will you face during the upcoming months, and how can you overcome them one by one?

3. Overcome challenges with POSITIVITY.

Learn how to stay ahead of holiday stress and see it as a challenge rather than a threat. Consider this a marathon and not a sprint.

Along the way, expect the unexpected, as life rarely goes as planned. Allowing yourself flexibility in thinking and planning can go a long way toward fostering good health and well-being.

"Over time, coping with these challenges will become easier," says Pace. "Think positively and try to practice gratitude. If you run into a bad day, do your best to focus on the positive and tell yourself that you've delt with worse problems than this. Mindset is truly key to keeping the holidays from becoming overwhelming."


About Mayo Clinic Health System

Mayo Clinic Health System has a physical presence in 44 communities and consists of 53 clinics, 16 hospitals and other facilities that serve the healthcare needs of people in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The community-based healthcare professionals, paired with the resources and expertise of Mayo Clinic, enable patients in the region to receive the highest-quality physical and virtual healthcare close to home.

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