As the holidays are drawing nearer, you might already be getting anxious about the stress, and all the numerous activities that will no doubt take up your time. From gift shopping to office parties, and Christmas celebrations, it can be a whole lot to take on. Here are some helpful tips to help you handle holiday stressors, and find the joy in this celebratory season.

1. Anticipate Stress

Ready or not, stress is likely to pop up at some point during the season. But knowing when a wave is about to hit can prepare you for the worst.

Identify your own stress triggers, be they party planning or organizing carpools, and be mindful of the stressors other people are facing. You won’t feel like you’re tackling the holidays alone, and everyone will get along better.

2. Be in the Moment

Despite the craziness, there’s still plenty of joy to be had during the holiday season, and appreciating the good around you can lift your spirits all year long.

Mindfulness strategies are key. You can do some meditation exercises or journal the reasons why you are currently grateful.

3. Mind Your Vices

If you’re tempted to turn to vices like smoking and drinking, keep in mind that these habits can make you feel worse in the long run. And if you do choose to have a few drinks at parties, set reasonable limits beforehand.

There’s strength in numbers, so reach out to reliable companions you can lean on when times get tough. Share your frustrations and tiredness with trusted friends, and you are most likely to feel better afterwards.

And if you arm yourself with the tools for a healthy holiday, you’ll feel more confident going into stressful situations.

4. Remember to Breathe

It might sound silly, but in the midst of a holiday crisis, it’s possible to forget to breathe. Proper breathing techniques have the power to center you and bring you back into the moment.

If you feel a spark of panic coming on, breathe slowly and deeply, and count backwards if you find it helpful. If you have a spare moment, add some simple yoga poses or stretching to get the most out of your breathing exercises.

5. Set Realistic Expectations

Many holidays—especially Christmas—are idealized in the media. But remember that nobody is really experiencing a perfect holiday and that there are always ups and downs. Do what you can by planning ahead for travel, cooking, and other time-sensitive events, but don’t get down on yourself if things don’t go exactly as planned.

Recognizing that imperfection is normal is sure to take some of the pressure off.

We hope that applying these tips above will help you have a more fulfilling holiday, with minimal or no stress.

DISCLAIMER: These posts should not be used to self-diagnose or self-treat any health, medical, physical or psychiatric condition. Information shared via posts does not replace professional healthcare advice specific to your condition and needs. If you are unsure whether you would benefit from implementing tools discussed in these posts, please contact your healthcare provider.