15 Ways to De-Stress During the Holidays

Turns out cookie-eating isn’t considered therapeutic.

Every year around this time, I start to feel the holiday stress creeping in. I always try my best to plan ahead, but procrastination runs deep in my blood. This year, I promised myself I’d fight the urge to stress and pursue peace, instead. If you’re a holiday stresser too, here are 15 ultra-practical ways to de-stress.

Check Out Aromatherapy

Spa Bathtub With Waterfall Feature

Spa Bathtub With Waterfall Feature

This relaxing spa bathroom features a bathtub with chrome fixtures and a luxurious waterfall feature. A small glass shelf is positioned next to the tub, providing a convenient spot for bathroom essentials.

Photo by: Ciro Coelho

Ciro Coelho

Aromatherapy has become a well-known, all-natural means of relaxation, healing and stress relief. If you’ve yet to try it, now is the perfect time. Before you dive in, take some time to read our guide to all things aromatherapy. The essential oils rundown will help you decide which scents and mixtures might work best for you.

Make Your Own Essential Oils

Make Your Own Essential Oils

Make Your Own Essential Oils

Learn how to make your own essential oils with plants from your garden.

After you’ve schooled yourself on essential oils and selected some promising scents, try your hand at making them.

Burn Aromatherapy Bundles

While you’re at it, make some aromatherapy bundles to throw in the fire. Double the aromatherapy means double the stress relief, right?

Make Your Own Exfoliating Scrub

Peppermint Exfoliating Scrub

Peppermint Exfoliating Scrub

Photo by: Liz Gray

Liz Gray

Just need a 30-second refresh? These three DIY scrubs boast tons of remedial qualities that are sure to revitalize you and your skin.

Take a Bath (with a Killer Bath Bomb)

OK, maybe you’re thinking more like a 30-minute refresh? Add an all-natural bath bomb to a hot bath to help release tension after a long day.

Try a DIY Facial Mask

Honey-Cinnamon-Nutmeg Facial Mask

Honey-Cinnamon-Nutmeg Facial Mask

Made from the inner bark of Cinnamomum cassia, cinnamon has astringent properties. Used with honey and nutmeg in this facial mask, it helps make your skin glow.

Photo by: Courtesy of Storey Publishing / Photo by (c) Winnie Au

Courtesy of Storey Publishing / Photo by (c) Winnie Au

We all know stress can cause major breakouts. Show your troubled skin some love with this all-natural facial mask. Make it yourself with raw honey, cinnamon powder and nutmeg powder.

Revitalize Your Hands

Herbal Lotion Bars

Herbal Lotion Bars

To use herbal lotion bars, rub between hands to slightly warm up the oils. Then rub liberally all over you hands, arms, feet and anywhere you have dry skin.

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

Have endless tasks and chilly temperatures taken a toll on your hands? Give your hands a break, and heal those nagging cracks with our DIY herbal lotion bars.

Make Your Office Space Happier

Do you spend working hours stressing about the holiday activities that await at home? Try adjusting your office environment to make it cheery and homey. If a desktop Christmas tree fills you with joy, by all means, go for it.

Try These Desk Yoga Stretches

Maybe work is the root of your holiday stress. If that’s the case, try some of these yoga stretches at your desk.

Fuel Up With Energy Bites

Holiday shopping inevitably makes my husband hangry. The solution that works every time? Taking energy-packed snacks on all our shopping runs. Try it, seriously!

Let Dinner Be Lazy

Easy, Healthy Dinner: Vegan Burrito Bowl

Easy, Healthy Dinner: Vegan Burrito Bowl

This better-for-you burrito bowl is bursting with spices and flavor. It’s made with brown rice, satiating protein from the tofu and black beans, and healthy fat from the avocado. This is a bowl that’s sure to fill you up, not fill you out! Get the recipe >>

Photo by: Kara Lydon, RD

Kara Lydon, RD

Throughout the holiday season, it’s just not possible to make time for everything, and sometimes the thing that has to go is the hour of dinner prep. Reduce stress by humbly accepting this and trying one of our super-simple dinner ideas.


Woman sleeping at home in bed

Photo by: andresr


I probably don’t need to tell you this one, yet it’s arguably the most important item on the list. Rest! Rest your body, soul and mind. Spend peaceful, thoughtful time in silence. Not only will rest benefit you, but it will benefit the ones closest to you, as well.


Woman Jogging

Woman Jogging

Close up shot of a woman's running shoes outside.

Photo by: ©iStockphoto.com/FrancescoCorticchia


Spending five hours wrapping gifts can give you a backache, and spending three hours baking cookies can make your feet hurt. Don’t neglect your body just because you’re busy with holiday to-dos. Take time to exercise. Get outside, and enjoy the scents and sights of the season.

Focus on Quality Time

Adding to Christmas Tree Decorations

Adding to Christmas Tree Decorations

While your loved ones will undoubtedly appreciate material gifts, they’d probably appreciate spending quality time with you just as much. Try to remember this as you approach your shopping list. Think about gifting your time and love to family and friends.

Give Back

Holiday Clothing Drive

Holiday Clothing Drive

When the stress of the holidays completely overwhelms you, the best way to refocus and ground yourself is to look outside yourself. Seek opportunities to volunteer and help neighbors in need. Looking for ideas? Check out our helpful list.

21 Gifts That Give Back

See All Photos

Spread the love this holiday season with gifts that benefit charities and communities.

For the Maker

Causebox, a subscription-based, quarterly gift box, features handmade, upcycled and socially-conscious products. The items inside each box inspire DIYs, crafts and cooking in your home while also empowering artisans around the world with meals, clean water and education. Subscriptions start at $50 per quarter.

Photo By: Cause Box

For the Music Buff

With the new iPhone 7 losing its headphone jack, a wireless alternative will be a welcome gift this year. And the Bluetooth options from LSTN are gorgeous. We're gushing over the beautiful zebra wood featured in their headphones ($179). Even better? For every item sold, LSTN helps give hearing aids to those in need through the Starkey Hearing Foundation.

Photo By: LSTN

For the Dapper

Actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson founded Tie The Knot with a simple mission: advocate for LGBT equality while looking good. Each quarter, Tie The Knot partners with The Tie Bar to release a series of exclusive, stylish bow ties designed by fellow stars, from Cyndi Lauper to Tim Gunn. Bow ties are $25-35 and $20 of every $25 purchase (or $30/$35) is donated to fight for LGBT civil rights around the world.

Photo By: Tie the Knot

For the Foodie

Any cook will enjoy unwrapping the specialty olive oils and vinegars from Oliovera. The batches come from small, sustainable farms in California and most bottles are around $20. For every order, the company donates 11 meals to Feeding America.

Photo By: Oliovera

For the Adventurer

The outdoor clothing and gear company Cotopaxi is on a mission to erase global poverty by donating proceeds to causes in three specific areas: health, education and livelihood. You can see where your dollars went each year in their impact report posted online. We love the unisex down jackets and durable duffle bags for $120.

Photo By: Cotopaxi

For the Caffeine Addict

Laughing Man Coffee, founded by actor Hugh Jackman, is a fair trade coffee company that features ethically-sourced coffee from countries like Ethiopia and Colombia. All profits from the New York City cafe go back to the Laughing Man Foundation, which supports education and social entrepreneurs around the world. Can't make it to NYC? Keurig has partnered with the company and you can order four different single-serve varieties online.

Photo By: Laughing Man

For the Crafter

Any DIYer will appreciate the attention to detail in Ichcha's handmade quilts and tapestries. They'll also appreciate the preservation of skills almost lost forever. Ichcha was created to save the art of block printing, hand weaving and hand embroidering textiles in countries like India, where families are abandoning unique weaving styles for more lucrative trades. Ichcha empowers artisans and the result is beautiful. We love new blankets like this dreamy delight, the Baagh Dark Indigo Throw for $275.00.

Photo By: Ichcha

For the Wine Snob

Drink for a cause? Yes, really. Each bottle from OneHope Wine benefits a different cause. Varieties of reds, whites and roses range in price from less than $20 to $80. We love the sparkling wine glitter bottles. At $59-69 each, it's a great splurge to ring in the new year. The gold and silver bottles benefit child hunger, the pink glitter benefits breast cancer research, the red bottle benefits heart disease research, and the rainbow glitter funds The Trevor Project, a suicide prevention hotline for LGBT youth. 

Photo By: One Hope Wine

For the Beauty Queen

Subscription box Love Goodly features natural products for a toxin-free beauty routine. Five percent of the proceeds from each box go back to causes like Cure Cervical Cancer. For a one-time gift, Glow for a Cause has a new makeup bag featuring samples of all of their body butters. Five percent of each purchase gives back to non-profits like Cowgirls vs. Cancer.

Photo By: Love Goodly

For the Fashionista

The trendy accessories at Live FashionABLE range from gorgeous leather totes ($178) to dainty stacking rings starting at $15. Every item is hand-crafted by women and creates jobs for women overcoming addiction and homelessness.

Photo By: Live Fashionable

For the Traveler

Even the most on-the-go travelers need a couple of home decor pieces. Check out the Unicef Market and shop more than 8,000 handmade items around the world, from knickknacks to linens. All items give back to global artisans and you can see which countries benefit from each item.

Photo By: Unicef Market

For the Sports Fan

Play for a cause this holiday season. Athletic outfitter 4Point4 partnered with non-profit streetfootballworld to give back to youth soccer teams and the result is a line of (seriously cool) designer graphic jerseys. Every purchase benefits soccer groups around the world, from India's Shakti Girls Project to Amandla FC in South Africa.

Photo By: 4point4

For the Little Ones

With every purchase from Bears for Humanity, a teddy bear is donated to a child in need. Choose from soft, organic cotton bears or lovable animal pals like a turtle or puppy. Prices vary from $25-45. 

Photo By: Bears for Humanity

For Kids

Out of Print has a line of adorable T-shirts featuring beloved children's book titles. Sizes range from two to 10 years and most styles are $20 or less. Every purchase helps fund literacy programs and book donations for communities in need.

Photo By: Out of Print

For Teens

Pura Vida's popular beachy bracelets are already ethically-sourced, provide fair wages for artisans in Costa Rica and give to 1 percent for the planet, meaning the company donates one percent of its annual net revenue to environmental organizations worldwide. But the company goes a step further with a line of bracelets that benefit specific charities. Each bracelet ($5) or stack ($30-$40) features colors that represent a specific cause, from Save the Sea Turtles to U.S. military branches.

Photo By: Pura Vida

For the Teacher

If you haven't heard of Yoobi, the company makes school supplies in a series of bright, fun colors. And for every item you buy, Yoobi donates an item to a classroom in need in the U.S. They recently rolled out a series of products just for teachers. The hall passes and stickers make a great gift for less than $10. 

Photo By: Yoobi

For the Animal Lover

The World Wildlife Fund has giving options to make a donation in someone's name or make a donation and select a thank-you gift. Each donation helps protect threaten species and their habitats. We love these colorful beach towels at $55. 

Photo By: World Wildlife Fund

For the Chocoholic

Seattle Chocolates' motto reads "All you need is love and chocolate," which is also a great motto for the holiday season. For every Jcoco bar purchased, a meal is donated to a food bank. With couture flavors like, Bali Sea Salt Toffee and Veracruz Cayenne Orange, stock up on these for hostess gifts and stocking stuffers.

Photo By: Seattle Chocolate

For Pets

Don't forget your furry friends this holiday season. Animal Rescue Site has adorable clothing and accessories for cats, dogs and pet owners. Proceeds from every purchase provide food and care for rescued animals and you can see exactly how much your purchase funds. This hooded rain coat (around $20) funds 14 bowls of food.

Photo By: Animal Rescue Site

For the Tech-Obsessed

Buying gadgets for people who love gadgets can be tough. Chances are they already have the new, hit product on the market. But any tech-obsessed person will always appreciate extra juice. (RED) recently partnered with Mophie to create exclusive, red-colored phone and tablet chargers and five percent of the net profit will go to The Global Fund to end AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. We love the travel-sized Powerstation Reserve Keychain at about $35.

Photo By: RED

For People Who Hate Winter

There's always someone on your list who gets a little too excited about fuzzy slipper-socks. Why not bundle them up with a sweater that gives back? Slumlove sweaters and scarves are ethically sourced and produced in Kenya and give scholarships to children living in some of the world's largest slums.

Photo By: Slum Love

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