If you look anywhere on the internet you will hear how people do not know how to avoid stress over the holidays. I wondered how many poeople. think about stress over the holidays, so I asked my community.

I ran a survey asking: Do you need strategies to support you with food and all the overwhelm this holiday season?

A whopping 86 percent said yes, they need strategies with food and all the overwhelm this holiday season. I was struck by how large the number was, 86%. It is not that you just have stress and overwhelm, but you do not know what to do about it!

That is a lot of people!

This stress and overwhelm can show up as:

1) Loneliness can be so devastating and unexpected at the holidays. There are movies and songs about being surrounded with others. What if you have been wronged by family members, they are not people you want to be with, or they simply live nowhere near you. You could be unhappy with people in your family, unwilling to see them, setting boundaries on them. Even with boundaries there can be loneliness. There is the expectation that we will want to be with family, but that might not be the case.

A strategy for loneliness is to be with someone. Who is someone you like or feel close to? Someone you might want to reach out and say hi to? Who is it you enjoy spending time with? Reach out to them. You might be surprised at their response.

A way to  curb loneliness is by spending time with a pet. This can be just the right opportunity to feel close without the expectations of others.

2) Family drama is very common. Do you feel you have to see family members you do not feel close to, do not feel connected to or maybe you just do not like them? There is the air of expectation that you want to be with people you are related. It is stressful and overwhelming to try to be around people you think you are supposed to be around.

In order to deal with family drama, be gentle with yourself. You are the only one who knows what is right for you. When there is family drama it can be so helpful to set boundaries. If needed, say no to what you need to say no to. This is your life to live.

3) Money is a huge issue during the holidays. There are expectations we are supposed to buy things for others. You might feel the expectation to buy something out of your price range or you just don’t have the funds for it this year. That is super stressful.

Focus on what you are grateful for. It quickly changes your heart and mindset to the positive. This will not bring you money, but it will change your attitude. Remember, there is no requirement that you need to buy things for others.

4) Overeating is another problem that leads to overwhelm and stress over the holidays. There are so many foods we do not have at other times of the year that are so inviting. We can either go all in and eat everything or say no I will not have any of it. This can become a feast or famine time of year. Often people decide to feast (overeat) during the holidays and famine (diet) at the new year. This leads to stress about weight, fullness, and self-loathing.

There are many strategies to deal with food in a productive way over the holidays.

First, notice what foods you really want and have them. Yummy foods are delicious and there are many seasonal items.

Second, go easy on yourself. There are so many emotions and mixed priorities during the holidays that stress increases.

Third, get support from people who do not focus on dieting. Get valuable tips and strategies to look at food differently. I would suggest that you join us in the Peace with Food over the holidays program (it is very affordable and supportive).

Normal routines are gone over the holidays. Travel, guests, and schedule changes create a different schedule than what you are used to. This increases stress in our bodies.

One strategy is to keep your bedtime routine as close to normal as possible. Good sleep is critical to end overeating and to keep stress and overwhelm down. This sounds like such a simple suggestion, but it really works!

Lastly, there are so many unreasonable expectations we put on ourselves or put on us by others. These expectations take us away from our needs and wants. Possibly you do not even know what you need or want.

A strategy is to take some time to determine what you want to do or be over the holidays and do that. In Peace with Food over the holidays program we talk about determining what you want to do. I call it a Holiday Bucket List. Determine what is right for you and do that. What is the most important thing for me to do?

Peace with Food Over the Holidays: The holidays are full of stress and overwhelm. Kim has an easy online course designed to fit into your busy schedule and give you some quick wins to feel peaceful during the holidays. Check out Peace with Food over the holidays program. It is a low-cost high value program with quick lessons to get you on track and keep you on track over the holidays.

Kim McLaughlin, MA is a Psychotherapist, Speaker, Author, and Coach who specializes in working with people who suffer from binge eating and emotional eating. She is a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor. She is the author of the best-selling book Feed Your Soul Nourish Your Life! A Six Step System to Peace with Food and the Amazon #1 Best Selling book Discovery Your Inspiration.

You can find Kim on her podcast Feed Your Soul with Kim and you can find it on all podcast platforms.

Wondering if you are an emotional eater? Sign up for the free Am I an Emotional Eater Quiz.