Here we are on the threshold of the holiday season. Little by little, the parties are being added to the schedule, the decorations are going up, and the gift list is growing. Not to mention, doesn’t it seem like the traffic and the crowds get 10x worse, too? And then there’s the time spent with family and in-laws. The work parties. And to top it all off, the absolute DIET-BUSTING cookies, desserts and tempting treats EV. RY. WHERE. So how dow we keep from getting overwhelmed? When things start to get frantic, there are many ways to conquer holiday stress and keep things in perspective. Here are a few ways to get a handle on the holidays, from the holiday giving experts themselves at GiftTree.

8 Ways To Curb Holiday Stress

1. Set Boundaries. We cannot stress this enough! Throughout the season, remind yourself that you do not have to say “yes” to every potluck, every Secret Santa, every White Elephant and every party. Think about it: when you add that last-minute party to your calendar, you’re adding more than just the event. You’ll be shopping for ingredients, cooking or baking, buying and wrapping another gift, finding a new outfit… the to-do list will get HUGE before you know it. Saying “no” to just one or two things will free up a lot of space to breathe.

2. Don’t Skip Your Exercise Routines. It will soon start to feel like you don’t have time to fit it all in, so one of the first things to go during the holidays will be the time you take for yourself. Do you go to a yoga class on Wednesday evenings? The gym on Monday mornings? Meet a friend for a walk on Thursday after work? Keep going. Exercise boosts your serotonin, making you feel more ready to handle holiday madness. Bonus points: if you can get out into the sunlight and exercise, such as a hike, you’ll stimulate even more production of serotonin, which can help relieve Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

3. Eat Super Clean When You Can.  As we mentioned above, everybody (and every body) knows that the holidays are FULL of cookies, treats, potlucks, candies and chocolates. Not that there’s anything wrong with that! 😉 Don’t get us wrong, we’re not complaining. But here’s the thing: all of that rich food, salt and sugar can really make you feel pretty awful. When you can, say, for your lunch at work or the weeknight dinners, stick to food that you know will help you feel good: lean protein, leafy greens, lots of veggies and LOTS OF WATER. And don’t forget to eat breakfast!

4. Learn To Delegate. I’m going to say this only once: You. Don’t. Have. To. Do. It. All. YOURSELF! Learning to delegate tasks is essential to not getting overwhelmed and overloaded during the holidays. Take a look at your holiday list and your every day tasks: guaranteed, there’s something that can be passed over to your spouse (like putting up Christmas decorations or making a grocery store trip), your kids (walking the dog, vacuuming and dusting) or your co-workers (designing a party invitation, handing out gifts).

5. Give The Technology (And Your Mind) A Rest. It’s a scientific fact: your phone constantly going off pumps up your adrenaline, putting you in a rotating cycle of “fight-or-flight” stress. This is exhausting your body, and it’s been proven to raise stress levels, especially in women. There is no better time than the holidays to turn off the phones (or at least put them on silent!) and leave them out of your eyesight. Enjoy your family and your friends at get-togethers! And when you’re home, get that fireplace crackling, put on those fuzzy socks, pour a cup of cocoa (or a glass of wine if you’re anything like us) and enjoy the holiday feels.

6. Think Positive! Let’s be real: the holidays can really drive you to your breaking point. That’s why it’s so important not to ruminate on negative thoughts. Did you know that worrying and negative thinking trigger the same stress response as an actual threat? So when you start rolling something around in your mind that is less than pleasant, turn your thinking around. Remember what it is that you love about the holidays! A positive outlook is going to help you handle stress that comes your way.

7. Make A Gift-Giving List. Take an hour or so one morning to sit down with your coffee and make a concise list of everyone you want to give gifts to this holiday season. Try to think of everyone, starting with family and friends. Then think of your other connections, like co-workers, kids’ teachers, or service people. For example, if you want to give a small gesture of appreciation to your mail person and the garbage collectors, great! Put them on the list. Once you have this completed list, stick to it and you’ll feel AMAZING when you’ve checked everyone off.

8. Use MyGiftTree & Gift History! This tip is going to help you take Tip #7 to a whole new level. Did you know that you can build your recipient list right on your GiftTree account? In fact, all of your gift-giving history is stored on your GiftTree profile, too. We keep track of your gift selections, recipient address book and so much more. This tool also helps you remember important dates such as birthdays and anniversaries. My GiftTree is an awesome idea board that makes smart recommendations, helping you easily select and send perfect gifts, too. It’s a great resource to make the holiday gifting process so much faster! Click here to get started.

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