Tips to make the holiday season as enjoyable and stress-free as it should be.

Tips to make the holiday season as enjoyable and stress-free as it should be.

As the cooler months arrive and the holidays begin to nip at your nose, your excitement of the season may be tempered by the expectation of stress. Sure, years past didn’t go as planned—you burned the turkey and that unwanted, awkward conversation took place once again—but that doesn’t mean this year has to be the same.

If you’re ready to enjoy the holidays without the stress of years past, keep reading to find out how to do just that.

At Christmas, tea is compulsory. Relatives are optional. – Robert Godden

Practice the Big N-O

For some people, saying “No” is difficult. During much of the year, this means giving someone a ride home, lending a hand to someone moving, or providing menial tasks sporadically. Unfortunately, if you struggle with the big N-O, the holidays are a season of constant frustration as you find yourself constantly on the go. The only way you can overcome this is to start saying “No.” No, you won’t be able to make another party or bake another dessert. Why? Because you’ve been too busy and need to go home and rest. Believe it or not, that is a valid excuse.

Be Grateful

Since marketing has infiltrated and nearly overwhelmed the holidays, it’s easy to find yourself wanting more of everything. Do this and you’ll find yourself discontent, envying those who have more than you and attempting to keep up with those who have much more wealth to buy it. Boost your holiday spirit by focusing on what you have rather than what you want. A grateful spirit will do wonders to cut back on your holiday stress, so focus on what you do have: family, good health, a roof over your head, and food on the table.

Plan Ahead

No matter how many party invitations you decline, there will still be a lot to do during the holidays. Regardless of how busy your holiday schedule is, you can lower your stress by planning as much as possible. Start by creating a to-do list. Days or even weeks beforehand, start setting out decorations so you don’t have to scramble to find them. Buy gifts throughout the year so you’re not online three days before Christmas to get the perfect gift. And when you complete a task, mark it off your to-do list.

Know Yourself

During the holiday season, the focus is on others, and this is a good thing. However, if you don’t pay attention to yourself a little bit, you’re in for a heap of trouble. This holiday season, keep an eye on yourself. If you feel tired all the time, find yourself struggling with bad moods or depression, or have more frequent headaches or other pains, step back and away from the holiday craziness. Work to regain your health so you can better care for others.

Call for Backup

No matter how good you are at managing the holiday season, you have your limits. Make the holidays more enjoyable by admitting these limits and being willing to ask for help. More than likely, there are friends and family who are ready to pitch in, and by asking for help, you’ll encourage others to do the same. And nothing brings holiday cheer like helping others reduce their stress.

Have Fun

At the end of the day, the holiday season is all about being with family and friends. Ideally, these times are full of fun times that will leave you with cherished memories the rest of your life. Make sure they are good memories by taking a deep breath and smiling. When things take a turn for the stressful, put on a funny movie. Whether an old family favorite or one you’ve wanted to see, a good comedy can push you out of stress and into smile.