The holiday season is supposed to be one of joy, cheer, and togetherness, but it can easily turn into chaos and stress if you’re not careful. There’s so much to do: planning and making meals, hosting relatives, shopping for gifts, attending parties … the list goes on and on. If the holiday season is one you’ve come to dread due to the constant nagging voice saying you’re not doing enough to make it magical, you may want to get a handle on your stress levels so you can make merry, not wallow in misery.

Plan ahead.

Making a plan in advance for anything holiday-related, from shopping for gifts to sending cards to bringing a dish to the work potluck, can really lessen your stress levels and help you take clear, actionable steps toward your goal. Can you do one thing each day to make the end result easier, like ordering grocery delivery instead of going to the store or doing all your shopping in one day? 

Don’t take on more than you can handle.

The holiday season is a flurry of activity and it’s easy to feel pressured to do it all and participate in every single fundraiser, family gathering, and party, but saying “yes” to everything can easily lead to overwhelm and burnout — not to mention grinch-like feelings! Instead of piling everything on your plate, take on only what you know you can get done and enjoy doing. 

Get some sleep!

Sleep is key to handling all the must-dos of the season. Stick to your bedtime whenever possible; if you don’t have a nighttime routine you love, now’s the time to start one! Put the phone or tablet down at least an hour before bed to help your body adapt and unwind, keep your bedroom as dark and quiet as possible, and crawl into bed for a long winter’s night. 

Speak up.

The holidays can bring up a whole jumble of feelings, some of them less than pleasant. Don’t hold your emotions inside, especially when you’re dealing with family members. Speak up and share what’s on your mind or the people in your life won’t have any idea how to best help you navigate the tough stuff or get it all done.

Skip the nightcap.

Alcohol is a mainstay of holiday celebrations, but think twice before you grab that second (or third) glass of champagne. It’s great to celebrate, but too many drinks can lead to dehydration, not to mention nasty hangovers, especially when combined with sugary treats and greasy snacks. Those hangovers can lead to exhaustion and even a day in bed, throwing you off your get-it-done game. If you’re attending a holiday party, drink a bunch of water before, during, and after, or pour yourself a small glass of Gallexier® Herbal Bitters to support your digestion as a non-alcoholic post-dinner aperitif. 

Remember what makes the season special.

At their core, the holidays aren’t about presents, spending money, or flashy decorations. They’re about spending time with the people you love, being kind and generous, and taking a moment to appreciate the many joys in your life. When you’re feeling stressed and exhausted, hit the pause button and get to the heart of the holidays.