Friday Five – Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

Don't Sweat the Small StuffSometimes mixed in the anticipation and joy and excitement over the holidays, a bit of stress can creep in and wreak havoc with our Holiday Zen! We really shouldn’t worry though. I honestly don’t remember if the house I was celebrating at was messy or clean or if all the dishes were perfect. I do remember if I enjoyed myself and laughed with family and friends! This season, we really hope you will try to take some of the anxiety out of the many gatherings and truly enjoy the moments. Here are a few tips to help de-stress and unwind should you find yourself with a few nerves jangled!

1) Music: It does sooth the savage beast and nothing is more savage than stress. Create a favorite play list. It doesn’t have to be Christmas music, maybe it shouldn’t be! Whatever gets you ‘feeling groovy’ and lifts your spirit. We all have our favorites and it’s so easy now with all the new technology to create the perfect mix. Crank it up and ‘be happy’!

2) Make a list: And check it twice – Santa knows what he’s doing. Getting some organization into the craziness is a great way to lower the stress level. Take a few minutes, think about what you need for Thanksgiving, what it is going to take to accomplish it, and BE REALISTIC. We don’t have to do everything. Use that same tactic for Christmas or Hanukkah or whatever holiday you are celebrating. Delegating a few items on that list is also a great idea.

3) Less is more: Think of your top three favorite traditions and make sure they are included in your celebrations. Anything else is a bonus and not to be stressed over.

4) Get Moving: As mentioned previously – turkey trotting can help relieve stress. Physical activity is a natural stress reducer. Go for a walk, play with the kids or pets, dance to that favorite music mix you created a few tips back. You will feel better, calmer and more ready to take on the festivities.

5) Rest: Seems like an oxymoron in this instance. So much to do, so little time. However, if you are rested you can accomplish more and you can do it with an air of calm. Just speaking for myself here, but lack of sleep has ruined more moments than I care to remember (and admit). Try, try, try to get to bed at a decent time, make notes on that list you created so you can relax knowing it’s on your list and you will get to it. Now you are free to get some Zzzzs!

BONUS: Closing off doors to those rooms you are not going to use. You don’t have to clean everything.

Dont's Sweat the Small Stuff Smiling Faces

 What are your tips for de-stressing over the holidays?





  1. I don’t have any stress free ideas to offer because I’m too stressed over my November goal of finishing my rag quilt. 😁

    1. YIKERS Tresa!!

      No stress please! Any progress on the quilt is better than where you started. If you get it done by end of month great – if not, it is now on your radar to finish. That’s what goal setting is all about – keeping things in sight so we can finish them at some point.

      Have a glass of wine and soak in the tub. You’ll feel much better! 🙂

    2. LOL! I love the idea of a glass of wine, but since we don’t have any I will just go have some fun square dancing.

  2. Great post!

    After reading Simplify Your Life in 1997, I stopped stressing over the holidays ~ I do what I enjoy doing, and don’t do stuff that feels like a chore.

    Being a vegetarian makes Thanksgiving Dinner prep a breeze ~ I can get mashed potatoes, stuffing, sweet potatoes, green beans, cranberry sauce, olives, etc., on the table in no time. Which means I can sit and watch the parade all morning.

    We do not put up a BIG tree any more. We have a small tabletop tree that we store already decorated. It’s good to go in about 15 minutes. Other decorations go out in about 60 minutes.

    I don’t shop til I drop any more. I ignore the call of the mall. BFF and I don’t exchange gifts at all. I send checks to my nieces and nephews. I send “consumables” (food, wine, snacks) to siblings.

    I don’t send Christmas Cards to everyone I’ve ever known ~ we’ve culled our list from 250+ to about 50 people that we genuinely care about.

    I package up collected change in bags with bows to toss into the buckets of the ubiquitous bell ringers with a cheery HO~HO~HO!

    1. Sounds like you’ve got all this under control and are ready to enjoy the company, holidays, and good cheer! My hat’s off to you Nancy.

      I am still working on it but get better and better at removing the stress with each holiday season! Life is too short to stress over ‘trivials’.

      I really like the collected change in bags with bows, that is a very cheery way to donate.

      1. When I went to donate Bag #1 . . . I realized that it was too big for the opening at the top of the kettle. So I had to untie the bow and dump it out.

        Lesson learned. Next year, I’ll just grab a handful of coins. 😆

    1. I forgot about puzzling! Do you mean working on a jigsaw puzzle or working on crossword, sudoku, etc? When my girls were all at home, we would sometimes have a holiday jigsaw puzzle out for piecing together at will. As long as you don’t let the puzzles frustrate you, it can be a relaxing activity!

      Those kids are cute aren’t they. I don’t know who they are but they made me smile and smiling is all about stress reduction!

      1. I’m a jigsaw puzzle junkie! 🙂 I loved them as a child and rediscovered the joy as an adult a few years ago. I could spend hours puzzling, if I had the time. It’s funny because I have a tendency to not be able to sit still and focus, but a puzzle keeps me planted and my stress melts away.

        1. Well if you ever stop by over the winter months here in Michigan, we will most definitely have a puzzle out to work on! I too love having one out to work on at my leisure.

  3. Good ideas. I like the music and the family traditions. Also like the closing of the doors. It does need to be fun and not all about cleaning!!

  4. Stress? What stress? No stress here, November challenge complete – tick. Thanksgiving not celebrated – tick. Christmas??????????? Yikes Christmas …………. a month away – really? Arrrrrrrrggggghhhhhh

    1. LOL! You’ve got a WHOLE month Pauline, plenty of time. Just remember somehow it always gets done and no one knows but you knows what didn’t get done. 🙂 !!

  5. Great advice!
    Do you really want the truth? I would like to shut all the doors, including the front door and not letting anyone in at all. 😀 😀 😀

  6. Very good suggestions…especially the bonus. Closing a door so we don’t have to clean or have it perfect has long been a habit in our family, and the closed door was respected by everyone…until one family member’s wife decided that no door should be shut. My cousin even posted a No Trespassing sign on the door when Thanksgiving was at her house. The wife-inlaw went in any way; there were several boxed but not wrapped Christmas presents, and during dessert she’d laugh and say things like, “For a price I can tell you what you’re getting for kitchen” wink! wink! When several confronted her about this, she laughed, waved it all off and said we were a family of wimps…and back housekeepers.
    Now we’ve all reached the point that we each have our own family Thanksgiving instead of all-inclusive “big event.” It’s much less stressful, and we all agree that this family man and his “wife” will be included at other gatherings, like picnics and getting together at restaurants, etc., but not in our homes. It’s not a perfect solution, but it helps us stay sane.

    1. Now that was a serious breach of etiquette Marylin!!! Sounds like your solution works for the family and allows each to enjoy the events without any added stress. Wonder if the wife-in-law knows the impact she has had on the rest of the family.

  7. Like nrhatch, we’ve scaled way back. We focus on doing something together rather than eating, decorating, shopping, etc. I don’t miss the hoopla and chaos.

  8. Do something creative every day. For me, that would be writing…. it quiets my mind. But how about crafting, snapping pictures, singing, dancing, painting, drawing, knitting, etc… ?? 😊

    1. Robin that should most certainly be on the list. Creativity is a great way to combat stress! Any of those that you mentioned can put your mind at ease and rejuvenate! Thanks for reminding of us! 🙂

  9. Keep it simple. Here in Australia its usually stinking hot over christmas, (we don’t have thanks giving holiday) So we keep the food fresh and simple. Its all about the catch up, the dessert and beach time here.

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