Taking time off work doesn’t always mean having time to genuinely rest, especially during the silly season. First we get bombarded with Christmas parties then there’s Christmas day, and then it’s finally over, oh wait New Year’s Eve.

If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed with festive commitments, you’re not the only one. Experts have a name for it: “holiday stress”.

According to Better Health Australians are changing the way they take holidays which means many of us are experiencing stress when we’re on breaks.

“While many people used to take four weeks or more of leave from work, most people now take shorter breaks and choose destinations close to home,” it published.


“Since Australians are taking shorter and fewer holidays, the pressure to have the ‘perfect’ holiday is higher than ever.

“With less time to enjoy, many people compensate by organising jam-packed itineraries, which can lead to exhaustion and disillusionment.”

Feeling stressed and disappointment when things don’t go to plan, too much to get done and not enough time, sound familiar?

What to do to prevent feeling stressed on your break


Better Health suggestions to avoid holiday stress include:

  • Plan a few short breaks over the year so that the annual holiday doesn’t take on so much importance that it fails your expectations
  • If possible, take longer holidays as you are more likely to feel relaxed after three weeks away rather than one
  • Action-packed itineraries can leave everyone exhausted and frazzled. The recuperative powers of ‘doing nothing’ while on holidays are underrated. Make sure you allow enough time for lazing on the beach, reading books, and taking the time to enjoy meals
  • Sidestep potential problems. Tick all the boxes to prevent avoidable situations. We’re talking about getting travel insurance, photocopying important documents and not eating food that seems risky.

What to do when you’re feeling stressed

Forbes Magazine published a piece about holiday stress which has some great tips for managing it in the moment.

  • When you’re experiencing stress, there’s a tendency to hold your breath, which means less oxygen is getting to the brain. As a result, the body’s fight-or-flight response is triggered.
  • Acknowledge your feelings. According to the Mayo Clinic  it’s important not to force yourself to be happy just because it’s the holiday season.
  • Ground yourself. Whenever you feel overwhelmed, or catch yourself caught up in negative thoughts, try to focus on something else like simply noticing the feeling of your feet on the ground.
  • Be kind to yourself. Don’t get mad at yourself or let harsh and critical thoughts go rampant if you forget something or Christmas lunch don’t work out as planned.
  • Recognise your limitations. There are only 1,440 minutes in a day, and there is a limit to how much you can accomplish.