The holiday season is a time for family, friends, and fun. But for many people, it’s also a time of stress.

Whether they’re struggling to find the perfect gift, dealing with family issues, or juggling an overbooked schedule, many people feel tense and anxious as the holidays roll around. Fortunately, there are steps that you can take to have a stress-free holiday season.

Here are a few of my favorite ways to stay as stress-free as possible throughout the holiday season and into the new year.

1. Set realistic expectations.

The holidays don’t have to be perfect. In fact, they rarely are. If you’re putting pressure on yourself to make everything perfect, you’re only setting yourself up for disappointment. Instead, focus on what’s important to you and your family and let go of the rest.

2. Make a plan—and stick to it.

One of the best ways to reduce stress is to be organized and have a plan. Make lists of what needs to be done and when you plan to do it. Then, stick to your schedule as much as possible. Of course, some flexibility will be required, but try to stay within your plan.

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3. Simplify your holiday decorating.

You don’t need an elaborate display or expensive decorations to enjoy the holidays. Keep it simple and focus on what’s important to you. For example, if you love Christmas lights, choose one area of your home to decorate instead of trying to cover every inch of space.

4. Don’t overcommit yourself.

Saying “no” can be challenging, but it’s important not to overcommit yourself during the holidays. You’ll only feel stressed and overwhelmed if you have too many obligations. So, be selective about what you say “yes” to and ensure you have time for the truly important things.

5. Take care of yourself.

This is a busy time of year, and it’s easy to let your needs fall by the wayside in favor of taking care of others. But you must take care of yourself to enjoy the holiday season fully. Make sure to schedule some time for yourself—even if it’s just a few minutes each day—to do things that make you happy and help you relax.

At this time of year, it can feel like endless to-do lists and responsibilities are vying for our attention. Between shopping for gifts, cooking for family gatherings, and preparing for holiday parties, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. To combat these feelings of stress and chaos, it’s important to focus on simplicity. One way to do this is by prioritizing the things that matter.

By focusing on what you truly value and keeping things simple overall, you can enjoy the holidays stress-free and appreciate this special time of year.

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