By Ashley Stahl, Originally Published in Forbes

As the year comes to a close it’s time for celebration, gift giving, and for some of us, stress.

While the holidays are meant to be a time to be carefree and cheerful, one study from All One Health found that nearly 45% of Americans would prefer to skip holidays like Christmas altogether. That same study found that 69% of people are stressed due to lack of time, and the same amount due to lack of money.

Here are some surefire ways to get some joy out of your job’s holiday party this year.

  1. Take a breather. While it may be challenging to balance finding the right gifts, spending time with family, and performing well at work, a great way to ease that stress is by making some time for yourself. An article from The Mayo Clinic suggests spending about 15 minutes alone, without distractions, to refresh your system and manage all the tasks at hand. These small moments of meditation can help you clear your head and breathe through your moments of stress as they pop up.
  2. Add flexibility as the rush approaches. This may seem counter-intuitive as you rush to meet a holiday deadline, but a study by Accountemps found that 44% of surveyed executives experience a productivity drop off the week before the holidays. Holiday burnout is a real thing, but it can be avoided with a little flexibility. In fact, 54% of surveyed workers reported that flexible hours would help alleviate workplace stress, and 26% want to telecommute every now and then.
  3. Don’t think gift giving is mandatory. Giving a gift is a great way to show your appreciation to a co-worker or boss during the holiday season. Something U.S. News and World Report reminds us, however, is that gifts in a workplace should flow downward, not upward. Gift giving should follow the power dynamic that exists between your boss and employees, and you shouldn’t feel like you need to purchase a gift to gain any sort of favor to the person that is cutting your checks. If the whole staff is pitching in for an office gift for a boss, you also don’t need to tack on that pressure into your budget, so it’s okay to say that you just aren’t able to participate in the office gift this year.

As office, family, and even societal standards and pressures start to mount during the season of giving, it’s critical to remember to give yourself the gift of a stress-free life. If your finances aren’t where you want them to be, don’t rack up a bunch of debt just to add more stress to the New Year. Instead, find time to relax, recharge and appreciate the time you’ll get to spend with family and friends this holiday season. They will more than likely understand where you’re coming from, and get to enjoy the fully present, authentic and stress-free version of you!

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  • I'm a career coach, keynote speaker, podcast host (You Turn Podcast) and author, here to help you step into a career you're excited about and aligned with. This may look like coaching you 1:1, hosting you in one of my courses, or meeting you at one of workshops or keynote speaking engagements! I also own CAKE Media, a house of ghostwriters, copywriters, publicists and SEO whizzes that help companies and influencers expand their voice online. Before being an entrepreneur, I was an award-winning counterterrorism professional who helped the Pentagon in Washington, DC with preparing civilians to prepare for the frontlines of the war on terror.