Stress Reliever Hacks for the Holidays

How to relieve stress

These hacks cover how to manage stress related to finances and gift giving, complicated family dynamics, traveling stress, and time management during the holiday season.

 Stress reliever

Time Management - One of the best ways to stay on top of inevitable holiday stress is to stay organized and plan ahead. Besides accepting that things get hectic and life is what happens when you’re busy making plans, we can try and mitigate this time of the year with realistic strategy; break it up into chunks instead of getting overwhelmed by planning everything at once. 

 Stress reliever

Traveling - If you happen to be traveling around the Holidays don’t book a trip you cannot afford, you won’t enjoy yourself. Seems obvious but you would be surprised how often people feel pressured to book a trip beyond their means - stress is inevitable here. Think about when you’re booking and avoid booking a trip on days where you know things will most likely get messed up, unless you must, like Christmas Day is not ideal. One thing I often suggest is looking ahead, not only at the weather forecast, but the flight schedule. If your flight gets canceled or delayed, is there another one later in the day and if you get stuck, where might you stay so you can make the best of an unfortunate situation? I also always recommend packing an extra change of clothes in a carry on, you never know! Arrive at the airport earlier than normal, and instead of getting easily frustrated take some deep breaths and go with the flow. Finally, make a checklist of everything, hotels, flight info, passport of photo ID, clothes, accessories, medications, toiletries, etc.

 Stress reliever

Finances and Gift Giving - When it comes to financial stress, having a game plan is essential. The holidays mixed with the end of the year are not friendly to those who haven’t prepared effectively. Before Thanksgiving, strategize on a budget. Know what you are spending for gifts, travel, and holiday prep in addition to your everyday budgetary needs. Be realistic about it, there is not point to wasting your energy on stressing about finances when you can easily set yourself up for success. Look ahead to 2019 and set goals in increments as to how you will manage your budget to make the best of your situation. When all else fails, ask for outside help keep moving forward. 


  • Recap the year, evaluate what you’ve accomplished and what more you would like to accomplish financially
  • Slow down, have some fun, decompress
  • Gear up - get ready for the coming year, set goals, challenge yourself based off this previous year. 

Stress reliever 

Family - And last but most certainly not least, the hallmark of the holidays, family stress. Everyone experiences this at some point; while some might have little hiccups during the holidays, others experience deep debilitating anxiety. Family dynamics are never simple, with that being said, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself. Becoming aware of your expectations and what causes you stress is key in lessening your triggers. Maybe you have toxic relationships or bad memories, or feel unappreciated. Perhaps you feel like you HAVE to do things even though you don’t want to. You don’t HAVE to do anything. Becoming mindful of these issues helps you change your outlook. Understanding your expectations enables you to drop them. Maybe you don’t like being around your family, ask yourself what would happen if you only stayed for half the time or don’t go all together. Perhaps you create your own tradition or join friends instead. If you decide to stay around family, come up with a game plan. If you grandma always asks when are you going to get married, be prepared to either change the subject, confront her on it, or walk away. If you need to learn to say no, then do so. Don’t sit around expecting things to randomly be different this year after the last 35 years have been the same. Expectations happen to be one of the main reasons we experience stress around the holidays. Don’t harp on how things “should” or “could” be, most people have a rough time around the holidays and there is nothing wrong with feeling stressed or anxious in the first place. If you can’t stand it when your uncle and brother get into a political debate, excuse yourself and go enjoy some pie. Sometimes simply knowing that most others are also struggling and its unrealistic to have a “fairy tail-like” holiday gives you permission to just roll with the punches.


  • Have a plan
  • Know your triggers
  • Create a list of strategy
  • Most importantly, enjoy and celebrate

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Katie Sandler is an Impact Coach and creator of the Impact Retreat and Impact Adventures. She applies methods from her intuitive gift, backed by intellect, education and training, to impact the lives of other who will in turn impact lives around them. The Impact Retreat is a three-to-five day tailored experience that combines luxury, wellness and culture to balance the mind, body and spirit for personal and professional transformation.


Katie herself has overcome immense physical and mental hurdles, including being born without an ear, dealing with over eight reconstructive surgeries, and being paralyzed at age 17. These, amongst others, have become the key catalysts of her professional career and helping clients reach that “aha!” moment. With over a decade of experience, Katie Sandler has her Master’s in Mental Health Counseling, her Bachelor’s in Psychology, and a strong background in psychology research from John Hopkins where she was a Psychiatric and Neuropsychiatric Research Assistant.


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