How to actually de-stress during the holidays, straight from an expert

Yes, it's possible to de-stress during the holidays! Here's how

A shocked gingerbread man with broken leg next to a decapitated gingerbread man - stock photo
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Ironically, the most wonderful time of the year also happens to be the most nerve-racking. Tinseled trees and mugs of hot cocoa are well and good, but have you ever truly experienced a silent night in December? We haven't, either. 

Our attempts to de-stress during the holidays are unsuccessful more often than not. Between gifting, working and navigating chaotic cosmic events (not to point fingers, but we're looking at you, total solar eclipse!), it seems like we'll never really get a chance to take a breather.

This year, vow to make a change. Now more than ever, we can all use a little time to unwind. Fortunately, entrepreneur and podcaster Ginni Saraswati of Ginni Media has offered a few practical tips for making your plans come to fruition.  

"When we're asked to rest, that's seen as a bit of a shock," she says. 

Destigmatize this notion. Grab your bath bombs, light a candle and truly enjoy your favorite self-care practice. Not only have you earned it—you need it!

Tips to help you actually de-stress during the holidays:

1. Establish expectations 

Before you jet off for a week away at your parents' or venture to your family's cabin where the phone reception is nonexistent, communicate your plans to your boss and coworkers.

Saraswati believes the key to a successful relaxing holiday is when there are no surprises the week of. The only way for your boss or manager to know you'll be unreachable is by telling them. 

2. Stick to your plans

If you're going to be OOO, stick to it. Don't cave and hop on a quick Zoom meeting when you really don't need to. The only way for your boundaries to be respected is if you set them. Plus, when you have an opportunity to unwind, it's better in the long run. 

"I think my best ideas come to me when I'm actually rested and I'm relaxed," Saraswati admits. "It allows me to process, rest and recharge."

If, in the event of an emergency someone needs to check-in, create a roster with your co-workers to figure out availability should the red flags go up. 

Mother connecting via video call during Christmas time with her kids, during covid-19 pandemic

(Image credit: Getty)

3. Take time to reflect 

December is the perfect opportunity for a little "me time," but it seems we don't always do it correctly.

"When we reflect, we tend to think about what we don't do well. And what we do is we try to overcompensate and try to do that 10 times better next year, which is a great goal, but we don't give ourselves the room and we tend to overestimate what we can do," Saraswati says. 

Instead of overwhelming yourself, set up realistic expectations for the year ahead and remember to check in every couple of months to see if your progress is in line with your goals. There's no need to wait until December!

4. Do the one thing you really need

Dying to sleep til noon? Craving an uninterrupted Netflix binge? Instead of just thinking about something you want to do, actually follow through! Don't let expectations or other demands get in the way of your self-care, whether that's reading a book or sipping lattes at the coffee shop. 

"It's very nourishing in it of itself because you are now allowing the space and the time to do something that you wanted to do all year," Saraswati says. 

Do you really have to wait all year to finally crack into that mystery you've been wanting to read?

5. Switch off

"There are different ways to switch off—it's just a matter of what works for you," Saraswati says. 

Set up an email away message, go for a morning hike or get your cup of Joe from a new place—whatever your heart desires. 

We're always busy doing for others during the holiday season, let's not forget to take a little time for ourselves, too. With tips from Saraswati, you're one step closer to having that relaxing time away that you've been dreaming about.

Danielle Valente
Digital News Writer

Need a TV show recommendation? Maybe a few decor tips? Danielle, a digital news writer at Future, has you covered. Her work appears throughout the company’s lifestyle brands, including My Imperfect Life, Real Homes, and woman&home. Mainly, her time is spent at My Imperfect Life, where she’s attuned to the latest entertainment trends and dating advice for Gen Z.

Before her time at Future, Danielle was the editor of Time Out New York Kids, where she got to experience the best of the city from the point of view of its littlest residents. Before that, she was a news editor at Elite Daily. Her work has also appeared in Domino, Chowhound, and amNewYork, to name a few. 

When Danielle’s not writing, you can find her testing out a new recipe, reading a book (suggestions always welcome), or rearranging the furniture in her apartment…again.