Tips for Managing Holiday Chaos – Find the Joy, Not the Stress

staying emotionally well

Some people love the holiday season and thrive with the flurry of activities, including decorating, shopping, and parties. Others find it a stressful time that adds a lot to their already busy plate, possibly stretching their already-stretched-thin bank account. With a little effort, everyone can make it through the holiday chaos feeling the joy of the season rather than the stress.

“The holiday season is not to be all rainbows and butterflies no matter what you do, but it can still be peaceful and filled with joy,” explains Katie Sandler, personal development and career coach. “Rather than simply go into it assuming it will be stressful and chaotic, change your thoughts, so you see and feel it differently this year.”

Due to increased activities that tend to be ushered in with the holidays, people find their to-do lists getting longer. There is often an increase in things they feel they need to do, including getting together with friends and family, shopping, and decorating the home. All these things can add up in time and money spent, which can lead to more stress for some people.

Here are some tips for managing holiday chaos to help find the joy rather than the stress:

Develop joy in life. 

Becoming more joyful in life is done by living with intention. This includes focusing on gratitude, opting for happiness, learning to let things go that would otherwise create undue stress, etc. Choosing to be a happier person is within reach and something that everyone can decide and work toward.

Lean into it. 

Rather than seeing it as a chore or dreading the season, embrace it. Most of the time, people feel stress leading up to an event, and once it’s over, they are glad they participated. We tend to look back on events with a kinder eye. Consider what you want to do and start looking forward to them.

Be intentional. 

Consider everything that needs to be done with a focus and purpose. Decide what should be done this season and then focus on those things. Not everything has to be done, so remember that it’s okay to cross some things off your list, especially if they bring you a lot of stress.

Respond with joy rather than reacting with stress. 

How we respond to situations makes a world of difference. Try to focus on responding to things this season with joy rather than anxiety. This may take some effort, but it will leave people feeling better in the long run. A simple change in perspective can go a long way toward reducing stress and increasing joy.

Pull back some. 

Forget trying to do everything and anything. Remember that self-care is essential; if you need to cross some things off your list, it’s okay. Make self-care a priority to keep feeling good for the rest of the year and beyond.

“It’s easy to get stuck in a rut of allowing the stress and chaos to rule the day,” added Sandler. “It’s important to put your mental health and happiness at the top of the to-do list this season, so you find the joy in the holidays rather than simply wishing they will be over quickly.”

This guest post was authored by Katie Sandler

Katie is a life coach who works with people in professional and personal settings, helping them become unstuck, set and achieve goals, change their mindset, and more. She has a bachelor’s degree in psychology, a master’s degree in mental health counseling, a strong foundation in mindfulness-based stress reduction, and she has worked in hospitals and private practice. She previously spent time as a research assistant at Johns Hopkins, focusing on purpose in life. Sandler offers impact retreats in the U.S. and abroad. To learn more about Katie Sandler and her services, or to see the retreat schedule, visit the site:


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Ms. Career Girl was started in 2008 to help ambitious young professional women figure out who they are, what they want and how to get it.