Q: The holidays are stressful. How can I stay sane at this time of year?


A: I hear you. The “most wonderful time of the year” can also be stressful and exhausting. Parties, events, mailing gifts, getting the house in shape for guests — whew! Luckily, there are some ways we can keep it all in perspective.

  • Plan ahead. Between friends, family and work, some events will inevitably fall on the same day. Determine what you can reasonably attend. If you are hosting at the holidays, create a menu and make notes in advance. Keeping track of dates with an online or printed calendar page can seriously help.
  • Say No. I recently conducted a presentation about stress and one lady in the audience raised her hand to say, “I’ve discovered that ‘No’ is a complete sentence.” Saying ‘No’ is tough for many people –but it is a perfectly acceptable answer (at any time of year) and can help you set boundaries.
  • Budget spending. The holidays typically mean spending some money, so create a budget and resolve to stick to it. Giving doesn’t need to break the bank or require months of payments with interest. Spend more thought –and you’ll spend less money.
  • Maintain healthy Another tough one. Don’t completely ditch your workout routine. Try to get in at least a 30-minute walk each day. Limit the goodies and sweets at the holiday gatherings (and in your pantry) and try reaching for healthy snacks like fresh fruit or vegetables.
  • Share feelings. The holidays after a personal loss can be difficult. Acknowledge your feelings and open up to others about them. If old holiday traditions bring sadness, then make it a point to try something new.
  • Respect differences. Do family and friends have different opinions and views? Try to respect others by focusing on similarities and steering conversations into safer waters.
  • Be realistic. You are only one person. You can only do so much. Consider asking others to shoulder some responsibilities. Forget about perfection and focus on being
  • Take a break. Don’t forget you. Nap, stroll, read a book, or enjoy a holiday movie. Spend time with people who make you laugh. Laughter really is the best medicine! It relaxes the whole body and relieves tension.


The holidays can be a fun and enjoyable time with family and friends. Embrace the happy excitement. Then banish the “shoulds” and enjoy the beauty of the season.


One Senior Place is a marketplace for resources and provider of information, advice, care and on-site services for seniors and their families. Questions for this column are answered by professionals in nursing, social work, care management and in-home care. Send questions to, call 321-751-6771 or visit One Senior Place, The Experts in Aging. Lisa Conway is a Registered Nurse, Certified Dementia Practitioner and a Certified Care Manager for Senior Partner Care Services, Viera. Ms. Conway hosts a monthly seminar, ‘Senior Health Friday with Nurse Lisa.’