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’Tis the season to be jolly seriously stressed. Whether you’re dealing with family members, hosting a big meal or traveling across the country, this time of year is always particularly demanding. Which is why you need a game plan for staying sane over the holidays. Here, eight ways to stay cool, calm and festive.

RELATED: The Best Holiday Recipes of All Time

Woman doing online Christmas shopping
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Get All Your Shopping Done Early… and Online

Schlepping around six different stores to find your hard-to-impress mother-in-law something she won’t immediately return? Painful. But sitting on your sofa, a glass of wine in hand and relying on the internet is infinitely better. Here are some gift ideas to get you started—just remember to order in time so that you can take advantage of free shipping.

Woman on phone in holiday sweater
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Ditto for Sending Christmas Cards

The post office during the holidays is a headache just waiting to happen. Instead, rely on clever companies like Postable to do the hard work for you. Pick a card from the beautiful options, type a message and let the company stamp and mail it for you. Simple.

Unmade bed in guest room
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Use the Three-Day Rule with Guests

Having friends and family come to visit is wonderful, but it’s also…exhausting. Enter this genius rule by which you let guests stay with you for only three days—no more. The key is to make this policy very well known to your nearest and dearest with plenty of advance warning so that there are no hurt feelings or surprises.

Woman meditating
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Meditate

It’s scientifically proven to calm you down and also gives you some much-needed alone time when everyone and their cousin wants to meet up. Not sure how to get started with meditation? Here are some tips for beginners.

Eating Christmas pie
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Do Things in Moderation

We get it—hanging out by the bar is pretty much the only way you’re able to deal with your aunt Susan’s political rants. And while there’s nothing wrong with treating yourself over the holidays, overdoing it will only lead to bloating and exhaustion. Try to be mindful of what you put on your plate and in your glass and you’ll thank yourself later. Here’s a trick: If your mouth doesn’t water at the thought of that sweet potato casserole or rum punch, then skip it and move on to something that does.

Woman taking winter walk with her dog
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Exercise

Another research-backed way to ease stress and boost those feel-good hormones? Getting your heart rate up. No, we’re not suggesting you run a marathon this weekend, but even something as simple as a 30-minute daily walk can have a serious mood-enhancing effect.

Woman sleeping on sofa with big blanket
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Don’t Skimp on Sleep

We can’t stress this enough—getting enough shut-eye every night is a must. If that means saying no to a holiday party or finishing wrapping up gifts tomorrow, so be it—clocking seven to nine hours of sleep is non-negotiable.

gratitude journal
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Count Your Blessings

Now is the time to reflect on the past year and what you’re grateful for. According to a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, participants who wrote about gratitude were more optimistic and felt better about their lives than those in the study who did not. Not only that, but they also exercised more and had fewer visits to the doctor. Here’s an idea to get you started: Be thankful that the holidays come but only once a year. 

RELATED: 9 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be a Happier Person

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