Five Tips to Reduce Holiday Stress

The holidays can be a celebratory, festive time of year, but can also be very stressful. Elizabeth Kozik from Student & Academic Services provides a few tips to help manage your holiday stress.

By Elizabeth Kozik, HBS Student & Academic Services

So Many Invites, So Little Time!


Ever feel like you’re spreading yourself too thin trying to attend all of your friends’ holiday parties? Of course you want to “see and be seen”, but if it’s stressing you out to make an appearance and accept every social invitation, it’s NOT worth it! Instead, pick a few parties or events that are truly “not to miss”, where you will get the most face time with the people you really want to see, and politely decline the rest. Don’t feel pressured to say yes to everything. Everyone understands that holidays are busy and no one will be offended if you RSVP with “Sorry I can’t make it, but let’s get together for coffee or a drink after New Year’s!”

Who Said Shopping Was Fun?


Are you trying to outdo your gift from last year? Are you uncertain what to get that one relative who seems to have everything? No one wants to be stuck in the mall doing last minute shopping for that perfect gift! For those of you who are gift-givers, make a pact with your relatives or friends to forgo gifts this year and plan a night out together instead (after all, isn’t spending time with you the best gift ever?!) Or, if you still feel the need to wrap something up in a pretty package with a bow, get a gift certificate to a favorite restaurant or local spa so you can enjoy it together!

Trains, Planes and Automobiles


Trying to get home for the holidays or making the rounds to see all of your friends and relatives can be extremely stressful! Whether you are in traffic or waiting in line at the airport, you should be prepared for the busy holiday travel season. Have a plan to reduce your stress by bringing a good book, some soft music, and don’t forget your eye mask (if you are the passenger) to catch up on some sleep. Give yourself extra time in case there are delays or bad weather. See if you can join someone else for the trip.  Whether it is a section mate, friend or relative, sharing a taxi ride or sitting beside someone you know can make the trip seem shorter, more enjoyable, and less stressful.

A Blue Christmas Without You


This is not just a famous Elvis song, but a sentiment that rings true for a lot of people during the holidays. This season can remind people of those who are not with them this year to celebrate.  For someone who has experienced a loss, either through separation, divorce or death, this time of year can be sad, and the pressure to put on a happy face can not only be stressful but also exhausting. If you find yourself missing someone or not getting into the holiday spirit as you usually would, then let those closest to you know what you are going through.  Ask for their support and be honest about what you are up for during the holidays.

Eat, Drink and Be Merry


After all the holiday dinners, drinks, and sweets, that new holiday outfit might be feeling a bit tight! It’s difficult to balance being healthy around the holidays while still allowing yourself to indulge a bit. So don’t completely abandon your regular routine. If you normally exercise, try to get in a workout now and then over the holidays. Everything looks so tasty, but remember: portion control.  Try a bit of everything, but only a little bit. Don’t forget the calories in those eggnog drinks can add up! Be mindful of how many you have.  Moderation is key!

Whether you are feeling stressed during the holiday season or some other time of the year, MBA Student and Academic Services is here to support you. Feel free to schedule an appointment with one of our staff members by calling 617-495-6087 or email

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