With Thanksgiving just around the corner, Christmas on the way, and New Year’s shortly after that, the last couple months of the year is a busy time for many. While the holiday season brings a lot of joy, the sheer amount of events you have to attend and errands you have to run in order to prepare for the festivities can be stressful.

Don’t worry though, there are a number of things you can do to make sure your holiday season is filled with nothing but comfort and joy. 

Here are 4 tips for a stress-free holiday season. 

Create a holiday schedule

First, if you want to have a stress-free holiday season, you should create a holiday schedule. Creating a holiday schedule will allow you to plan out everything you need to do so you’re not scrambling once the holidays arrive. 

Your holiday schedule should include any events you’re going to be attending as well as tasks like gift shopping, baking, and anything else you need to do in order to prepare for the festivities. Be sure to add these tasks to your holiday calendar weeks before the big day, instead of leaving them until the last minute. By doing so, you can avoid the huge holiday shopping crowds and spend more time relaxing when the holidays actually arrive. By creating a schedule and sticking to it, you’ll be able to easily get everything done in a timely manner. 

Learn how to say “no”

During the holiday season, you’re probably going to be bombarded with requests from friends, family, and others. For instance, there’ll be lots of email newsletters in your inbox promoting holiday sales and you’ll get tons of invites to holiday parties and events—you might even get asked to help plan and set up these festive events. But, since the holiday season is such a busy time of the year, you have to learn how to say “no.”

Choose the few holiday parties and events you’d like to (or need to) attend and say “no” to the others. The hosts of the parties won’t be offended if you politely decline an invite; most people will understand that your calendar is already full during this hectic time of the year. 

Make time for yourself

Speaking of skipping out on some holiday parties, it’s also important to make time for yourself during the holiday season. Trust me, if you skip that holiday party, you definitely won’t be suffering from FOMO if you take that time to relax and recharge by doing something you enjoy.  

So, go to a yoga class, sit by the fireplace and read a book, binge watch a few of your favorite holiday movies—you could even have a nap if that’s how you’d like to spend your free time! When you carve out some time for just you, you’ll be better able to manage any challenges that might arise during the holiday season. Plus, you’ll be happier in general too. According to a study published in the British Journal of Psychology, people that spend more time alone are happier than people who spend a lot of time around others. 

Practice gratitude

During the busy holiday season, it can be easy to get wrapped up in a number of stressful issues whether it’s worrying about money or fretting over family feuds. But, if you want to have a stress-free holiday with your loved ones, you need to remember to practice gratitude. 

Focusing on the negative things or dwelling on what you don’t have won’t do you any good. In fact, it will only increase your stress. According to Very Well Mind, studies have linked negativity with higher levels of stress and lower self-esteem. So, cut out that negative thinking and replace it with gratitude this holiday season. 

The holiday season is a time for being grateful for the abundance of wonderful things you do have in your life like a loving family, supportive friends, and good health. Consider starting a gratitude journal so that you can easily practice gratitude everyday. Writing down three small things you’re grateful for each day will remind you of your blessings and boost your mood. 

Without holiday stress, you can focus on what’s important

While other people are rushing around doing last minute shopping and worrying about all of the holiday events they have to attend, with these tips you’ll have a totally stress-free holiday season. Without holiday stress you can focus on what’s important—spending valuable time with your loved ones. Happy Holidays!