8 Tips for Dealing with Holiday Stress

December 19, 2014

2:30 pm

In a cruel twist of fate, the “most wonderful time of the year” can also be the most stressful. Holiday stress is insidious. Suddenly, a list of to-do’s materializes out of nowhere: buy gifts for every single relative, bake an exquisite home-cooked meal, and spend large chunks of time where obsessively checking your email would be a faux pas.

As we head into Christmas and New Year’s, here are some tips from entrepreneurs on how to deal with holiday stress.

Go with the (relaxing) flow

“Champagne at holiday parties! Just kidding (sort of). The great thing about the holidays is that everything slows down, and there aren’t a whole lot of deals being made. For entrepreneurs, this time of year serves more as a reflection rather than a time to get the wheels spinning.”

– Rachel Maxwell, CEO of Maxwell Biometrics

“One of our investors makes a point to preach to me about ‘self care.’ While I’m generally pretty terrible about putting my health, sleep, and relaxation first, the holidays actually give me a great excuse to slow down. In addition to being a tech entrepreneur who’s bicoastal, I’m also mom to six-year-old twins, so baking cookies figures highly in my holiday productivity calendar.”

– Cynthia Schames, CEO of AbbeyPost

Let go of expectations

“To handle holiday stress, I prioritize what is most important to me. How important is it to do elaborate decorating and cook very fancy meals? I consider the spirit of the season most important, and that includes me being relaxed enough to enjoy it.”

– Katie Schwartz, owner of Business Speech Improvement

Use technology to your advantage 

“You don’t get to whine about stress even if you’re an entrepreneur, and the holidays are no exception. This time of year, whatever I can do to avoid getting caught up in the hustle and bustle, the better. I take advantage of services like Instacart for grocery delivery and have the post office pick up and deliver all my packages. If I can get it done by just using an app or my computer, I’m all over it. The holidays don’t have to be stressful with so much technology that’s being created to make our lives simpler.”

– Asya Rahim, founder of eStore Fresh

“I already have enough to stress about at work (and at home with two young kids!), so I try to avoid putting myself in situations I know ahead of time will be stressful. For example, I try to do most of my shopping online to avoid the crowds of shoppers in brick-and-mortar stores, and I try to avoid traveling on the roads on peak travel days.”

– Rob Bellenfant, CEO of TechnologyAdvice

Be social

“I think the best way to handle holiday stress is to be around family and friends, which allows me to set work aside for good chunks of the day. Drinking wine with great friends and family lets the part of your brain that worries ‘Did I turn that email around yet?’ rest. If there was ever a piece of an entrepreneur’s brain that needed reprieve from stress, it’s that one.”

– Darren MacDonald, CEO and founder of Ingress Capital

“For me, Christmas is all about attitude. If something is not done to perfection, I let it be; it is most important that I spend time with my family. Also, we have a Finnish tradition where we begin Christmas with a sauna. It implies that one should ‘get thoroughly clean for the holiday.’ Almost every Finnish home has a sauna.”

– Janne Jormalainen, CEO of StoryBy

Drink some alcohol? 

“A pint of eggnog cures all stress.”

– Pavan Bapu, cofounder and CEO of Gramovox

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Kira M. Newman is a Tech Cocktail writer interested in the harsh reality of entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and psychology. She is the founder of The Year of Happy and has been traveling around the world interviewing entrepreneurs in Asia, Europe, and North America since 2011. Follow her @kiramnewman or contact [email protected]

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