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It’s The ‘Most’ Time of The Year

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Northeastern chapter.

With the holidays quickly approaching and the weather turning into the blistering winter, this time brings a lot of things with it. The cold winds nipping at your nose, warm jackets and boots coming out of the closet, lots of family, reminders of love and loss; this can be a very emotional and busy time of year. The holidays are advertised as the most wonderful time of the year, but that is an unrealistic expectation for most individuals.

I listen to the “We Can Do Hard Things” podcast hosted by Glennon Doyle, her wife Abby Wambach, and her sister Amanda Doyle and in each episode cover a hard thing in their life, going in-depth about the good, the bad, and the ugly. I highly recommend it! They recently posted an episode about their hacks for hard holidays and eloquently said that it should be the most time of the year, not the most wonderful time of the year. I could not agree more.  Commercialism paints this time in a way that can make individuals self-critical if they are not having the most wonderful time or if it’s not their favorite time of the year. The holidays increase an individual’s stress specifically surrounding their time and money, or lack thereof. 

A 2018 study found that 88% of Americans felt stressed while celebrating the holidays and according to a survey, 45% of those people living in the United States would choose to skip out on the holidays, rather than deal with the stress of it all. On average, three out of five Americans feel that their mental health is negatively affected by the holidays. Some of the most commonly felt negative emotions during the holidays include fatigue, stress, irritability, and sadness. The holidays bring the past to the surface and can enhance feelings of loss, remorse, sadness, and many more which can make this an especially hard time for those dealing with those things or for someone going through a major life change. 

Here are five helpful tips to decrease your holiday stress: 

  1. Take time for you

In a season of giving, it can be hard to not only give to your loved ones, but to also give to yourself. It’s okay to set realistic expectations about your time and budget. You do not need to overextend yourself or your resources during this time, although I know the outside pressure of the holidays can make that hard to do. Do something for yourself and prioritize how you are feeling. Even if that is going for a walk, getting yourself coffee, or just stepping away from the hustle or family drama happening in the other room. Do what is going to feel the best for you. Taking time for yourself and doing what is best for you is not selfish.  

  1. Delegate tasks

More women than men shoulder the responsibility of holiday shopping and planning, and report stress from the limited time available to get everything done. It can be hard for some to take a back seat in planning and organizing, even if that may be making food for the family, but that can add more pressure and stress to the time in which you should be relaxing and taking time off. Delegating tasks can be a great way to take some of the weight off of your shoulders and to include others in your process, to spend time helping out each other during this hard time. Try not to feel like the whole holiday, or other’s experiences rely on what you do or do not do. 

  1. Prioritize sleep and rest

It’s a holiday ‘break’ for a reason. Make sure you give your brain a break from working and thinking so hard. Prioritize your rest and do things that make you feel the best, even in the busiest moments. Sleep and rest are just as important as everything else, if not more, so include a balance between doing, and not doing this holiday season. Time is one of the factors during the holidays that people feel like they do not have enough of, and when we are tired the time can slip away from us even more even though sometimes we lose sleep to have more time. It is important to find that balance and to rest so that we can feel our best and be fully present for those important moments. 

  1. Understand your stress, give yourself grace

If you are able to understand why you are so anxious, depressed, or stressed out during this time it can be easier to rationalize and give yourself the slack, the grace that you need to relax and to feel like yourself. I always try to talk to myself and give myself advice as I would to my best friend. There always seems to be more understanding for others than for myself, so I try to use that language and to really understand why it is okay to feel how I’m feeling. Understanding why you are feeling the way you do can also help you to make decisions that help lessen the load of that particular root cause. You are not alone in your stress and however you are feeling is completely valid.  

  1. Gratitude is stronger than insecurities

The holidays fly by every year. They are meant to be a time to give thanks and celebrate all that you have and love, but that true meaning can get lost in the hustle and bustle. Try to write a few things down every day that you are thankful for. This is a commonly used mindfulness tool, and it can help to remind yourself of all that is good in your life. It is really easy to focus on the bad, so take time to think of the things you are thankful for, even if it’s the warm bed you woke up in that morning, your morning coffee, or a cookie you ate, having that awareness can help reframe your thoughts and anxieties about what is going on in your life. 

Happy holidays! You got this!

Kate Cheney

Northeastern '25

Kate is a Philosophy, Politics, and Economics major with a concentration in logic and game theory. As the Senior Editor of Northeastern's HerCampus chapter, she loves having the opportunity to read through everyone's pieces as she learns so much with each one.