You know the Holidays are approaching when you get a good mix of excitement and stress at the same time. Here are a few ways you can keep stress levels low so you can focus on what’s truly important this season.

Breathe. Sounds like a no-brainer, but not having to think about our breathing is the reason why we take it for granted. The practice of breath control or pranayama is a powerful tool in calming the mind and the body. Believe it or not, simply taking deep breaths helps you cope with stressful situations better. Do it as often as possible or schedule 5 to 10-minute breaks throughout the day to refocus on your breath.

Take Five. If you could schedule breathing breaks, then you can easily escape from the hustle and bustle of the Holidays. Five minutes of doing absolutely nothing allows you to create space in your head. Find a quiet spot and think of it as a vacation you instantly have access to. Don’t get too frustrated if your mind can’t seem to stay still (like a restless monkey). Observations like this one helps you learn to do it better on your next try. Take ten or even twenty (if you have the time), when you notice yourself getting better at keeping your thoughts at bay during your break. Don’t forget to practice proper breathing, as mentioned above. 

Make Lists. The last thing you want is to get tangled in a web of “Things-to-Do” and the deadlines that come with them. So whether it’s for work, for your Noche Buena shopping list or simply for your daily errands, keep everything listed so you don’t have to try to remember everything and end up forgetting anyway. Don’t stop there with the lists, though. At the end of each day, write down the things—no matter how small, that you are thankful for as well as the ones you would like to be thankful for in the coming days, weeks or months. Keeping gratitude lists and gratitude intention lists makes you feel happier and more contented as opposed to constantly having this desire for things to happen in your life.

Keep Your Eyes off the Screen. Filipinos are known for celebrating Christmas with family and loved ones. But in order to truly celebrate, we have to be more than just physically present. There’s nothing wrong with documenting special moments on social media but when you spend half of the time keeping your eyes and hands glued to your phone, Christmas whizzes by faster than your friends double tap your photo. As a popular saying goes, “Wherever you are, be all there.” That’s when we truly get to experience the joys of the Holidays.