A woman meditating on a dock to reduce holiday stress

Take The Reins: 8 Tips For Making Holiday Stress Your B*tch

by Tess Woods

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

That is, until you’re a 20-something and the holidays suddenly mean spending way too much money and a jam-packed schedule.

Still, there are ugly sweater parties to be attended and Christmas cocktails to be consumed. (Someone's gotta do it, right?)

So with mid-December crunch time upon us, take a second to breathe.

Because there are ways to avoid the overwhelming feeling of the holidays:

Recruit Your #ElfSquad

Just kidding.

But seriously, executing holiday season chaos with your friends by your side is so much easier.

This year, my best friend and I went in on gift-buying for our mutual loved ones together to save time and money without lacking thoughtfulness.

Think: You buy this for Jess, I’ll buy this for our neighbors. Venmo me the difference.

Other ideas that have come up this season are gift-wrapping parties featuring mimosas with the girls, and creating an ugly-sweater-party-photo-booth-station with the roomies.

These are the fun parts!

We’re all throwing parties and buying gifts. It’s comforting to know we’re not alone.

Make a playlist.

I keep hearing the term “play-listing” more and more from people in my life.

Whether it’s coming from my spin instructor friend known for her great taste in music, or the Starbucks dude that won’t leave me alone until I follow him on Spotify, it’s a thing.

And it works.

I combined the gym tracks I listen to for an “I got this” attitude, the songs I use in the office to tune people out and focus and some Christmas songs (Okay, so maybe just Hilary Duff’s Christmas album).

This might be horribly cliché, but the "playlist for a purpose" thing has been working, so I’m going with it.

Kill the Yankee Swap game.

If you’re like me, you set a gift budget and stick to it.

And it’s kind of a buzzkill when you have to choose between buying a pair of New Balances for your best friend and a generic gift that everyone involved in a Yankee Swap or White Elephant would want.

However, since there’s usually a spending cap, don’t let it break the bank and pick a fun gift that people will be all over (enter the #HolidayBling sweater).

Practice the “Aunt Carol” script.

We all have those family members that ask unwanted questions. I try to have some version of the following rehearsed:

“I’m working at this place.”

“I see myself at this point in five years.”

“Oh, and I’m single because I have high standards, want to focus on myself and despise the entire male species. Thanks for judging, though!”

**Gulps wine and runs to dessert table.**

Strike a pose (yes, I mean yoga).

December is a time when sleep is sacrificed, exercise is minimal and mood swings are prominent.

So whether you’re a yogi or a non-yogi, you can still reap the benefits of stopping the 95 mph days to pay attention to your body.

Larissa Hall Carlson, a leading yoga teacher at the Kripalu Center of Yoga and Health, the largest yoga retreat in North America, aligns the following holiday scenarios with the appropriate poses.

And they’re pretty genius.

When your holiday outfit is feeling tighter than usual and you need to de-bloat ASAP, try balancing boat pose.

When you’ve gorged on cookies and cocktails and need help digesting, try garland pose.

When you’re actually so overwhelmed with festive everything that you feel like Scrooge, try supported legs-up-the-wall-pose.

And when you’ve had too many hot toddies (as if there is such a thing) and need to detox: try peacock pose.

The combination of slowing down, breaking a sweat and paying mind to yourself is beyond refreshing this time of year.

Burn calories before the storm.

Rather than saying “I’ll start after New Year’s” like we do every year, I think we owe it to ourselves to work hard so we can play hard.

The week leading up to Thanksgiving, I made sure to get two to three workouts in that claim to burn calories for up to 72 hours like Orangetheory or Barry’s Bootcamp.

This way, when I knew I was eating more than I normally do because of the occasion, I felt like my body already needed that fuel.

Guilt-free binging? Yes, please.

Find your go-to recipe.

Invites to holiday parties are great.

The phrases “BYOB” and “side dishes welcome” aren’t as great.

Whether you’re supposed to bring a dish or mix a drink, you should have a designated recipe you can whip up like the back of your hand.

Pick one and own it! (Disclaimer: A giant bucket of spiced apple sangria might be heavier to carry than you think.)

Embrace the unity and have fun.

From Black Friday shopping to New Year’s Eve raging, each holiday is a unifying experience.

Think of the days you’ll get off of work/school and nights you’ll spend with friends and family as motivation to make it through.

And when all else fails and you just can’t, that’s why someone made mixing Bailey’s in your coffee socially acceptable.