Strategies to Prevent Holiday Season Stress

Figure out which traditions you truly love participating in — and ditch the rest

Laura Vanderkam
Forge
Published in
4 min readDec 5, 2019

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Photo: Dirk Lindner/Cultura/Getty

Laura Vanderkam, the time management expert who wrote Off the Clock and Juliet’s School of Possibilities, is here to answer your scheduling questions. Check back every week for more advice, and send your own productivity problems to asklaura@medium.com. (Your name will not be used.)

Dear Laura: I know the holiday season is supposed to be fun, with all the parties, gifts, and festivities. But I’m exhausted even thinking about it. End-of-the-year deadlines are piling up and I don’t know how to get through it, let alone give my family the love and warmth they deserve. Any advice?

OOne way or another, people often have strong feelings about the holiday season. Personally, I love the added bustle of holiday parties, school concerts, and family activities. But if this brand of festivity is not your thing, or if December coincides with your busy season at work, it can be easy to feel resentful of the added obligations.

The first thing to remember is that while you can’t add more hours to the day, you can manage your energy. Don’t skimp on sleep or exercise. Give yourself a bedtime and do your best to stick to it, even if that means leaving parties early after making an…

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Laura Vanderkam
Forge
Writer for

Laura Vanderkam is the author of several time management books including Off the Clock and 168 Hours. She blogs at LauraVanderkam.com.