Let Pressure Fall Away by Making a Holiday To-Do List

Autumn is the most soothing of the seasons: The lush of greens of springtime have given way to regal shades of auburn, gold, and crimson; the air is crispy and chill; the swimsuits and warm-weather tops have been stored away make room for light jackets and worn-out jeans.

The changing of the seasons provides an opportunity to reflect and recognize the changes occurring in our own lives. Embracing this time of year as a period of introspection and mindfulness can uplift the spirit and prepare us for the winter months ahead.

Here are some ways you can destress with the season:

Let Pressure Fall Away by Making a Holiday To-Do List

Many of our warmest memories are rooted in the holiday season, but because this time of year is so treasured and revered, it’s always accompanied by a slight tinge of pressure — to make sure that the house is clean, that the mashed potatoes come out okay, that there’s a vegan alternative for your niece and a gluten-free casserole for your nephew, that your brother-in-law doesn’t bring up the 2020 election.

We get it: at times, the holidays can feel like a lot, which is why we recommend using Destress Monday as a day to proactively work towards alleviating stress. The techniques listed below will help bring order to your busy schedule (and mind) and allow you to cruise through the months of November and December emotionally unscathed.

Visualize Your Goals

Life is busy; life is exciting; life…gets in the way. That’s why it’s critical to take a moment to refocus on long term goals and achievements.  By concentrating and envisioning a specific goal, you can actually plan a road map for yourself on how to achieve it. Imagine the feeling of accomplishing that goal and hold on to that feeling. Now, work backwards and consider the steps needed to reach that goal.  After giving this goal your undivided attention, write down the steps you’ll need to take. Having a physical list will help you revisit not only the path to achievement but the great feeling of accomplishment that you felt at the beginning!

Refresh Your Intentions

We should all do this once a week, regardless of the time of year. Assess your state of mind and try to understand any sources of stress or uneasiness. Once the stressor is identified, visualize yourself letting it go. Now that you have a clean slate, reframe your intentions into a positive force to drive you through the week.


Despite what you tell yourself, it’s impossible to do it all, which is why prioritizing is such an important mental exercise. Not only does it bring order to your life, but it also puts the little things that bother you  — grr he left his dishes in the sink, again — into perspective. So how should you go about prioritizing? First, find a quiet place and identify your “to-dos”; next, write down a list of your tasks in order of importance and mark how long it should take to complete each one. Move efficiently through the items on your list, and don’t be afraid to postpone something if it will take too much time. Reward yourself after each completion — you’re in control!

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