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I know what you’re thinking… “Holiday season already?! Make it stop!” Each year it seems like retail is pushing the holidays out sooner and sooner. While the holiday season is a time of celebration and family, it can bring a lot of added stress. We are not saying you have to start blasting Jingle Bells in October or decking the halls just yet, but you should try to get ahead in other ways.

So how can we prepare now?

The holiday season can be a time of celebration and family, but it can also bring a lot of added stress. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, there are many ways to help manage your stress levels. Here are some tips to help you fend off holiday stress:

  1. Plan ahead: Between co-workers, friends, and family, it’s inevitable that some commitments will end up on the same day. Make sure to plan on what you can attend in person or virtually. If you’re hosting the holidays, create a menu to help you stay organized and make grocery shopping easier.
  2. Say no: With holiday commitments, it is okay to say no to a few or all of them. It also will help relieve some stress. Try sharing your to-do list with other family members.
  3. Plan spending: The holidays mean spending money. Make a budget and stick to it. Spending money on your loved ones is important, but it’s also important to pay your energy bill. Don’t buy gifts that you’ll be paying off for the rest of the year.
  4. Create relaxing surroundings: Turn on some music, light some candles, or open the windows on a sunny day. Research has found that listening to music and the scent of citrus can boost feelings of well-being, and vitamin D is always a happiness booster.
  5. Maintain healthy habits: The holidays are notorious for ruining healthy habits. A short workout each morning will help your decision-making throughout the day. Encourage your family to try snowshoeing or sledding to get in extra exercise. Eat healthy snacks like fresh fruit or vegetables throughout the season and fill up before a dinner party or celebration with tempting but unhealthy foods.
  6. Share feelings: Spending a holiday after a loss in the family can be difficult. Accept your feelings and open up about them to others. It may make you feel better to share. Try to switch up old traditions to ease the loss.
  7. Respect differences: Family members will have different viewpoints than your own. Try your best to forgive and forget this holiday season. Focus on your similarities and replace tension with something productive.
  8. Be realistic: You are only one person, and you can only do so much. Be realistic about how much you can handle this season. Forget about perfection relax and enjoy the company surrounding you.
  9. Take a break: Don’t forget about your own needs. Take a nap, go for a short walk, read a book, or watch a funny movie.