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Reviewed by Dr. Melanie Blake, Galen Lifestyle Medicine

Shopping, cooking, planning, and sometimes forced merriment–the holiday season can be hectic to say the least. So, it’s not uncommon to start to feel overwhelmed, drained, or burnt out at this time of year. That’s why our Galen team has rounded up a few tips sure to help you manage your holiday stress throughout the frenzied final days of the year.

Go for a Brisk Walk

A quick-paced, half-hour walk each day can work wonders not only for your body, but also for your mind. The repetitive motion and rhythm of your steps can have a tranquilizing effect on the brain, and exercise can help decrease anxiety while also improving sleep. All of these things are great stress busters! Plus, your stroll will give you a chance to connect with nature while you decompress.

Know it’s Okay to do Less

Many of us tend to go overboard during the holidays taking on more than we can feasibly manage, from shopping to cooking to sending the perfect holiday card out to friends and family. Maybe this Christmas, give yourself permission to do less. Say ‘no’ when you need to. Put yourself and your mental wellbeing first.

Maintain Your Routine

The holidays are a wonderful time, but they can also be tough schedule wise. Time off work and celebrations can throw a wrench in your day-to-day routine, but maintaining that routine is a great way to manage stress. So, this year, try your best to prioritize workouts, good rest, healthy eating, and the hobbies that keep you sane.

Give Yourself a Break

Remember that it’s important to take a load off every once in a while. Give yourself a break from cooking by ordering take out for the family once in a while. Leave the laundry for tomorrow and snuggle up to watch your favorite holiday flick. Put a pin in that work project for some one on one time with the people you love the most. It’s okay to slow down every now and then.

Limit Your Tech Use

Unplug! That incessant buzz of your cell produces in you a tiny burst of adrenaline each time it goes off. This can be disruptive, distracting, and – you guessed it – stressful. So, challenge yourself this holiday season to silence your devices, or better yet, leave them in another room for the evening, so you can really practice being engaged. Whatever you’re spending your time doing, be it hanging out with your family or reading a book, do it fully instead of with split attention.

No matter how you spend your holidays this year, we hope you find a little peace and joy. This doesn’t have to be a chaotic time for you and yours. Just remember, YOU are driving the bus. Say yes to the things that make you happy this season, and always take time for you. Prioritize your own mental health so this really can be the most wonderful time of the year!