The holiday season can be a pretty stressful time of year. With family commitments, buying gifts, and carrying a couple of extra pounds from indulging in holiday treats, things can feel a bit overwhelming. Here are some ways you can manage stress and beat the holiday blues.

Take a Break

Everyone needs a break – unless you’re perpetual motion machine that has gained sentience. Since it’s the holiday season, you should make your breaks a little more festive. Build a snowman. Watch Frozen with your little cousins. Listen to A Muppet Christmas Carol for the hundredth time. Making it festive not only makes your break more interesting, it’ll also put you in the holiday spirit.

Say No

When you come home for the holidays, you’ll probably be deluged by invitations. If you can’t meet someone or make it to somebody’s party, remember that no is an option. Saying “no” may lead to disappointment but it won’t increase the stress of trying to make everything work. If that doesn’t work, try coordinating something with a couple of friends, so you can see them all at once.

Budget Your Money (and Time)

The holiday season is an expensive time of year. After tons of Black Friday deals, you may notice your bank account is still slightly lighter than before. And that’s before you realize you haven’t bought anything for friends and family yet. On the upside, you don’t have to buy gifts. Be creative and think of different ways to show you care. However, the time you spend being creative could cost you too. If you’re visiting from a Caribbean medical school, you probably have a limited amount of time to catch up with friends and relatives. Make a spreadsheet and set aside the time you want to spend with people and the money you want to spend. Remember – time IS money. Especially if you’re in a time machine run on money.

Do Something New

Sure, going to your cousins’ in Connecticut is what you do every year, but does it make you happy? Go do what makes you happy first. Just because you do it every year, doesn’t mean it has to be done every year. The monotony could be the source of your anxiety. This year could be the excuse you need to finally take that trip to Disney World or the Bahamas.

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