Best ways to unwind after holiday stress

Courtney Johnston

Learn how to unwind after the chaos of the holidays slows down.

The holiday season may be full of fun and festivities, but all that hustle and bustle can quickly take its toll on your body. Whether you've been fervently shopping, planning, or attending holiday events, it's common to feel stressed during the holidays. Holiday stress is often more elevated than normal stress, and it can be difficult to unwind from once the holiday chaos is over.

We've compiled some of the best ways to de-stress this holiday season so you can enjoy your time off and receive some much-needed rest and relaxation.


Does the thought of not knowing where your cell phone is at all times cause you to panic? Eliminate the unnecessary stress of texting, social media, and the instant gratification of having entertainment at your fingertips by unplugging. Turn your phone off, lock away your tablet or laptop, and remember how to exist in a world not ruled by the internet.

If this is too extreme, opt to cut back on social media consumption and resist the urge to constantly check your phone. Try deactivating your social accounts for a few days or deleting social media apps temporarily. When you're not focused on taking in the updates of hundreds of people's lives, you'll be amazed at how much more relaxed you'll feel.


You don't need to practice yoga or understand the art of meditation to reap the benefits of taking five minutes each day to reflect, breathe, and relax. When you first wake up in the morning, take a few minutes to completely clear your mind and try to concentrate on your breathing. This will help calm your body and ground you, setting a relaxing and peaceful tone for the rest of the day. Meditation has also been proven to increase your focus.

Crack open a book

When's the last time you read an old-fashioned book with real pages? Combat holiday stress by digging into a book you've been wanting to read for ages or by thumbing through an old favorite from your bookshelf. You can use a smart device to read instead, but be sure you're focused on the book itself, and not taking breaks to check social media or search the web.

If reading isn't your thing but you enjoy stories, listen to an audiobook for the same relaxing effect, or indulge in your favorite podcast or discover a new favorite.

Do something you love

Think of a favorite hobby that you've been much too busy for lately--one outside of technology, social events, and work. Maybe you love knitting, woodworking, recipe testing, or painting. You don't even need to be talented at whatever you choose, so long as it puts you in a happy and peaceful state of mind.

Schedule your bedtime

Lack of sleep can drastically impact your mood and can severely affect anxiety levels. Staying up late can lead to further anxiety, which will only make it more difficult to relax the next day. Setting a bedtime and sticking to a schedule can help your body adjust to going to bed earlier so you're well-rested in the morning.

If you struggle to fall asleep, you're not alone. Over a quarter of all Americans struggle to fall asleep at night or suffer from some type of sleep disorder. Some natural supplements like melatonin can work to ready your body for sleep. Sleeping with a fan on or using a white noise machine can also help you fall asleep and stay asleep.

Take a walk outside

Even though it's dreadfully cold in some parts of the country right now, getting outdoors is a great way to help your mind relax and decompress. Seasonal depression is in full swing in winter, so walking outdoors--even if it's just for a quick stroll around the block--is important.

If you can manage it, try to go outside when the sun is out, since sunlight helps combat seasonal depression. If you can't go outdoors every day, you might want to consider investing in a light therapy lamp (which simulates sunlight) to help boost your mood and ease your anxiety.

Create a home spa experience

There's no need to shell out hundreds for a day at the spa to relax. Instead, create your own spa day by sipping peppermint tea and trying out face masks and other luxurious beauty treatments at home.

Put on some classical music, turn on a salt lamp to purify your air and remove toxins, or enjoy the soothing smell of lavender from an essential oil diffuser. Don't have either? Light candles and dim the lights to chill out.


Unwinding from holiday stress can be difficult--relaxation doesn't come naturally in today's fast-paced world. Follow these tips to help you remember to take a deep breath, press pause, and enjoy the moment once in a while.


Courtney Johnston is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

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