The 4 Most Common Holiday Stress Scenarios—and How to Deal With Each of Them

No matter how many rom-coms portray the holidays as a magical, whimsical time when all your dreams come true, the reality is that the season is usually a teensy bit stressful for the average, non-rom-com character person (just keeping it real here).

And if you haven't heard, stress can have some pretty major effects on your health (namely, gut health), which is why we teamed up with Renew Life to tap Abby Langer, RD, owner of Abby Langer Nutrition, for her holiday stress remedies. AKA, advice on avoiding the most common holiday stress traps.

Her biggest tip for keeping your chill—and dodging the occasional digestive upsets stress can cause—is to make time for yourself.

"The holidays are stressful for so many reasons," Langer says, which is why her biggest tip for keeping your chill—and dodging the occasional digestive upsets stress can cause—is to make time for yourself. "Schedule it as early as possible, whether it’s a spin class or just a free afternoon. Resolve to take the time for yourself and not anyone—or anything—else."

Top on the list of ways to care for yourself? Taking a daily probiotic, which Langer recommends to her clients in addition to a healthy diet to support their microbiome. Renew Life 30 Billion Extra Care Probiotics are made three times stronger than your usual probiotic, so you know you're getting the most effective support—and can keep living your best rom-com-inspired life.

Scroll down for the holiday stress remedies she recommends for your most gut-healthy holiday season.

holiday stress remedies
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1. Eating healthy

Langer calls the holidays "the most food-laden season ever," and she's not wrong. Between your mom's lasagna, your grandma's famous cookies, the endless hot cocoa, it can feel like system overload when it comes to food—and maintaining any semblance of a healthy diet can seem like a Herculean challenge.

That's why Langer advises her clients to find a middle ground, rather than stressing themselves out trying to stick to a "perfect" diet when they're surrounded by foods that are soul-nourishing (even if they aren't necessarily the most body-nourishing).

"I tell clients to lose the all-or-nothing attitude, and to try to stick to their normal diets as much as possible," she says. You know what makes your body feel best, so keep that in mind—but that doesn't mean you can't have one of your fam's famous cookies.

holiday stress remedies
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2. Dealing with relatives

If you have that one relative who likes to make comments about your weight (or your marital/job/life status) while sitting around the dinner table, family time can go from heart-warming to anxiety-provoking quickly.

"In this case, establish boundaries by clapping back that you aren’t going to talk about your weight, or that it’s none of their business," Langer advises. And remember that you rock, no matter what Aunt Sheila says.

holiday stress remedies
Photo: Stocksy/Lumina

3. Finding the perfect gift

If racking your brain for the gifts that will show the people on your list that you really care, then fighting your way through throngs of people to actually purchase said gifts sounds a tad stressful to you, you aren't alone. That's why Langer advises her clients to take the pressure off by opting for a simpler route.

"People stress over finding the perfect gift, but remember: The perfect gift is time with you," she says. "Nothing material will ever replace that."

Instead of dropping a big chunk of change on physical gifts, try giving out "tickets" for quality time with you. Write out the activities on the front (like girls night in, coffee date, etc.) and include an "expiration date" so you don't end up putting it off!

holiday stress remedies
Photo: Stocksy/Sean Locke

4. A jam-packed social calendar

With a different happy hour, holiday party, or cookie swap every night of the week, it's easy to get swept up in the excitement of the season (all those things are fun after all!) and ending up feeling burnt out.

"My recommendation is to learn how to say no," Langer says. "Sometimes you need to stay home and relax on your own, and trust me, people will get over it if you don’t show up." So turn on that rom-com, and feel the holiday stress melt away.

In partnership with Renew Life

Top photo: Stocksy/Lumina

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