The holidays are a wonderful time of year, but they can also be extremely stressful. Between the crowds, travel and financial responsibilities, even small things can feel overwhelming. But there are ways to combat stress and make for a merrier holiday.

Be realistic

The holidays don’t have to be perfect and life events happen. If your spouse lost their job or your son got married and won’t be spending the holidays with you this year, that’s okay! Be realistic in your expectations and understand that families change and grow as do traditions. Embrace the positive things in your life and come up with new traditions you can enjoy.

Stick to your budget

Nothing says “I love you” like a huge, expensive present, right? Wrong! If you put too much pressure on yourself to show others that you love them by showering them with lavish gifts that you will be paying off for the next two years, it’s time to reset your thought process. Create a budget that actually fits what you can spend and stick to it. Expensive gifts do not buy happiness and your loved ones will cherish whatever you give them, no matter the cost.

Learn to say no

This time of year, it seems like there are parties or events every night of the week and you can’t possibly get to them all. Be choosy about the ones you really want to attend and politely decline the others. If you put too much pressure on yourself to make it to every party, you will be burned out and miserable by the end of the season.

Plan ahead

With all the activities happening, it’s important to be organized when it comes to your to-do list. Set aside specific days for shopping, baking, happy hour with friends or whatever it is you have lined up. Waiting until last minute can cause last-minute scrambling and adds to the stress of the situation.

Work it out

Exercise is an excellent way to combat stress, and with all the goodies you will be eating this time of year, it also helps to fight the holiday bulge. Working out produces endorphins, which are the feel-good chemicals in the brain, and reduces stress hormones. Next time you are feeling a little overwhelmed, go for a jog or check out one of Bootique Fitness’ Boot Camp classes in San Diego and you will be relaxed in no time.

Beating the blues

Does this time of year bring about feelings of sadness? Acknowledge your feelings, don’t try to suppress them. No matter the reason, if you are feeling sad this holiday season, allow yourself to feel those feelings and don’t force yourself to try and be happy. The more you express your true feelings, the better you can handle them.

It also helps to reach out to your community for support. Whether it’s your friends, family or Bootique Fitness buddies, your loved ones can offer you support and companionship through your most difficult times.