Crowded and bustling malls, repeated trips to the airport to fetch long-lost relatives, and the constant shuffling of cookies and turkey out of your oven can translate into one reaction—stress.

So how do you stop from flying off the handle at this supposedly glorious time of year?

Sometimes holiday festivities can become overwhelming. Dr. Alan Manevitz, a psychiatrist at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, says you may stress out by trying to keep up with the Joneses or just being around your relatives for too long.

If you're a mother, then you'll put in many hours preparing for the holiday season while balancing your work and family life.

This year, try to keep your holiday stress to a minimum by prioritizing what is important to you and then planning how you will get it done, experts like Manevitz say.


Pack away those perfect expectations


Try these tips to reduce your holiday stress and help your body, mind and pocketbook.

  • Take time to think about what the holiday really means to you and your family
  • Pack away that perfectionism about the holidays
  • Plan your time so that you take care of several errands on one trip
  • Don't wait to the last minute to make plans
  • Plan time with friends if you are having family difficulties
  • Prioritize events that matter the most to you and your family
  • Understand that you can't do everything, so choose the things that you can accomplish and enjoy
  • Eat right, and avoid overdoing it with booze to avoid feeling guilty of overeating, getting smashed or making a jerk of yourself
  • Remember it's the thought that counts, so don't let competitiveness and perfectionism send you on too many shopping trips
  • Stay well within your gift-buying budget so you don't stress over how you'll pay down your credit-card balances come January. Better still, pay cash for everything. If you can't afford to buy everybody in the family Cadillacs, buy them Fords
  • Send your holiday gifts in plenty of time to get where they're going
  • Don't set expectations about things like family reunions or you may wind up disappointed and frustrated.