AUGUSTA, Ga (WJBF)- Parties, presents, cookies and lights– the holiday season is a time of joy and togetherness. But for many, it’s not the “most wonderful time of the year.” Stress levels can make this time of year not so much fun for some people.

The pressures of decorating, shopping, cooking, and parties can be a lot for many to handle.
But there are some ways to relieve the stress and enjoy your time with family and friends this holiday season.

First, know your limits. Financial limitations are one of the biggest stressors, especially when kids are involved. Set a budget for gifts and stick to it.

And don’t be afraid to say no if you have too many holiday invitations. Parties are supposed to be fun. Too many and it can feel like work.

It’s also important to give yourself a break.

“The first thing is just giving yourself permission to not be perfect. We all need to be accepting that we’re good enough around this time. We’re not going to be able to necessarily get all the big gifts our kids want or make every holiday party. And accepting that the world will go on and things will be ok even if we’re just good enough,” said Dr. Dale Peeples, Professor at Augusta University.

Dr. Peeples advised people to stick to a schedule the best you can even with kids out of school.

Get plenty of exercise and sleep. Exercise produces endorphins which can reduce stress.

With prices so high due to the economy, financial stress is higher this year too. You don’t want to put yourself in debt buying gifts.

“The more you can plan ahead and budget and stick to that budget, that’s going to help minimize stress down the road. But if you’re not facing big credit card bills and that sort of thing after the holiday season. And you might want to try to be creative, you know, see if there’s maybe experiential activities that you could focus on instead of necessarily just big ticket gifts and presents,” Dr. Peeples said.

So, remember to give yourself a break and say no when the pressure of the season becomes too much. Enjoy your time with family and friends and make memories that will last forever.

Photo Journalist: Will Baker.