If it “tis’ the season to be jolly”; then why do we feel stressed, overwhelmed, and overworked? The holiday season seems to add more volume to our crazy, busy lives, but it doesn’t have to be that way. One of the hardest, yet most important things we can do is a little self-care. A simple solution that will only take five minutes can help you gain control of your day, and it starts with gratitude.

You readers from the US might be thinking, “I just celebrated Thanksgiving, what does gratitude have to do with the impending holiday madness?” I’ll give you a scenario, and you see if your lifestyle fits the description.

The alarm screams first thing in the morning. You jump out of bed, fumble in the dark for the off button, and slog into the bathroom. Start the shower; consider opening your eyes to the light that is blinding. While you attempt to avoid swallowing the shampoo as you yawn, repeatedly, you contemplate your day. Get the kids lunches ready, feed the cats, let the dog out and then stumble back upstairs to get the kids up. Breakfast on the table, finish readying yourself, then it’s kids out one door, you out the other.

The workday is like any other. You are busy, yet find time to sneak in a lunch and a quick look for ideas for family gifts. There’s not much time to shop, wrap, ship if needed, and then there’s the tree, decorating, cards, and holy cow, time to get back to work. Wasn’t it just Labor Day???

After work, it’s dinner, clean up, help kids with homework, feed the pets, and then there might be a little time for more research. Then you need to figure out how to leave kids at home and go mad dash shopping because you’re running out of time! However, you somehow still make time to check the Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram before you fall over exhausted in bed. “Where did the day go?” you’re thinking as you fall asleep.

What if I could throw a little twist into this scenario? The very act of gratitude leads to more to be grateful for in your life. I promise. What I’ve discovered is that it also leads to a bit of quiet time, breathing, and self-care that we tend to overlook in our hurried lives. Don’t tell yourself you don’t have time for this. You really don’t have time to be sick. Don’t tell yourself you have too much to do to stop. Think about that for a moment: “You don’t have time to stop.” I’ve heard a joke that says, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” Are you in some kind of hurry for that? We are running ourselves into the ground with our diets and our habits. That’s our end destination anyway; what is the rush?

A five-minute habit every morning can help set the day up right. With that most important start, you can manage the day with a little more ease. Let’s start with the screaming alarm ~ how about a soft awakening with a low wattage light on a timer? Have some gentle music playing that you won’t even need to turn off right away.

Sit up in bed, do some slow neck rolls, and give your arms a stretch while you say “thank you.” The late Wayne Dyer never rose from his bed and let his feet hit the floor without saying “thank you” three times. Your intent with the thank you could cover anything ~ a restful night’s sleep, your family, or your health. If you are even slightly concerned about your day ahead, you could say thank you for a calm and productive day. Set the intention for what you want and see what happens.

If you’ve gotten a good nights’ sleep, then your body has spent at least eight hours in a state of fast, so you’re dehydrated. Grab a quick glass of water before jumping into your routine. Now you’re ready to start your day. The shower and the light won’t be quite as intimidating.

Don’t let another holiday season take its’ toll on you. Find five minutes to work these tips into your daily routine. You’ll have more energy for yourself and your loved ones.

Originally published at medium.com