Actions to Deal with Holiday Stress

My good friend Dr. Tonya Featherston recently wrote a wonderful article about positive steps to take to have a more enjoyable holiday season. I’m sharing it here with the reminder that it doesn’t need to be the holidays implement the steps Dr. Featherston suggests!! AND you don’t have to be a teacher – these suggestions apply to everyone. Read on for some great information, and be sure to check out her website when you have a moment:

Recently at a stress management workshop, I asked the participants who were a group of teachers if they got a sense of rejuvenation during the two week winter holiday break. One of the teachers was excited to share her answer, and she shouted no! I usually need a vacation after my holiday break she said! I inquired as to why she felt she needed another vacation after the break and she told me because she tries to do all of the tasks that she couldn’t take off work to do from August through December. She mentioned scheduling doctor’s appointments, dentist’s appointments, house cleaning, holiday shopping and a myriad of other tasks on her to do list.

This conversation made me think about how as teachers we are shamed into not taking time off from work because the children need us and rely on us to be present for them on a daily basis. We easily buy into this mindset and neglect ourselves for months at a time. So naturally, when we get a break, we try to maximize the time by creating a to do list that’s a mile long. Do you find yourself running from one place to another checking things off your list during the break?

Teachers are often hanging on by a thread waiting for the holiday break and in desperate need of rest and rejuvenation. If during the holiday you spend most of your time on household tasks, it leaves very little time for the restoration that your mind and body needs. This holiday season, I encourage you to spend more time on yourself and less time on the to do list or fulfilling the needs of others. Here are 3 ways that I rejuvenate myself during the holiday breaks:

1. Put yourself at the top of the list — let your feelings be your guide and only do things that make you feel good. If it doesn’t make you smile and feel giddy inside, then it’s not happening. You should be your number one priority during this holiday break. Find at least one thing a day to do that’s just for you, something that fills you up and rejuvenates your spirit.

2. Leave the work at work — dump the to do list, and don’t spend your holiday break catching up on lesson planning, grading papers or writing reports. Declare this holiday a “duty-free” holiday. You don’t have to do anything but rest, relax and restore.

3. Take time to go within– be intentional and make a commitment to spend time just being. We often say that we don’t have time to meditate or find a still and quiet moment, but our rejuvenation lies within. The holiday break is the best time to start the practice of refueling yourself by connecting to the inner you. You are making your own schedule, so you can decide to spend time daily tapping into the stillness and quietness within.

Join thousands of teachers who are making their wellness a priority and living a happy, healthy teacher life. You can get more strategies and info on the Teacher Wellness Movement at

Have a wonderful and safe holiday season. Namaste.