Stress during the holiday season can take a real toll on your health, spurring depression, anxiety, financial woes, and even physical aches and pains.\nBah humbug, indeed.\nThis season brings with it many anxiety triggers \u2014 in the form of heightened spending, bustling schedules, and family expectations. But the best way to manage your holiday-induced stress is by preparing for it in the first place.\nTake some time to reflect on your anxiety levels during this busy time of year, and create a strategy to help you manage the season\u2019s demands without sacrificing your sense of well-being.\nRELATED:\u00a0Sleep Soundly During the Holidays\nWhat Can Trigger Holiday Stress?\nThe first step in managing your holiday anxiety is identifying your stressor. These are some common causes of holiday stress during the Christmas season:\n\nBeing away from a partner, friends, and family\nAssociating the holiday with family turmoil\nFacing an illness during the holiday season\nFeeling lonely or isolated from others\nFeeling anxious about social or financial obligations\nDrinking alcohol more heavily at social functions\nManaging a busy social schedule on top of other responsibilities\nKeeping up with a busy workload \u2014 shopping, baking, cleaning, and entertaining, for example\n\n\n\nWays to Cope with Holiday Stress\nBefore the season begins, set your priorities\nThe holidays don\u2019t have to be perfect to be memorable. Start the season by defining, realistically, what will make it enjoyable for you. What traditions are important, and what others can be jettisoned? Does your Christmas dinner need to be extravagant, or can you simply host an intimate evening for a few friends and family?\nCreate your spending limit\nBefore you head out on a shopping spree, decide in advance how much money you\u2019re going to spend \u2013even set aside budgets for individual family members.\nWhen it comes to your holiday shopping, keep it simple: Start early when you still have plenty of selection and time, and ask your loved ones what they want in advance. This will help you better plan and budget as the season unfolds. Avoid bustling malls and shopping centers by ordering things online.\nThen, set your time limit\nSometimes the family you adore doesn\u2019t get along well while in one place. And that\u2019s OK. If you have a troubled relationship with some family members, simply set a limit on how much time you\u2019re going to spend with them. Set aside your differences for this designated period.\nGetting a handle on holiday stress requires commitment before, during and after the season. A little bit of deep breathing, alone time, or even a music break can work wonders for your overall stress levels. For more, visit UPMC Behavioral Health Services.\nShare the workload\nOrganizing your annual holiday feast? Sit down and create a menu \u2014 then have your loved ones pitch in on a few of the cooking responsibilities. You can also try picking up some prepared foods, rather than whipping up everything from scratch.\nLearn to say \u201cno\u201d\nMany find their holiday schedule packed with parties, gift exchanges, and other outings. Remember to not over-schedule yourself. It\u2019s OK to say \u201cno\u201d to some social engagements.\nAvoid traveling to events during rush hour. And simplify some of your traditions with close friends and family \u2014 if you don\u2019t enjoy it, don\u2019t go.\nLimit your alcohol consumption\nWhile it may seem drugs and alcohol reduce stress, in the long run, they may worsen your feelings of anxiety, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).\nRELATED:\u00a06 Benefits to Quitting Alcohol for a Month\nKeep moving\nMaybe you\u2019re accustomed to going for a morning run or attending an evening yoga class. Don\u2019t abandon these healthy habits during the holiday season. Rather, create a schedule and stick to the things that keep you feeling happy and healthy. The American Heart Association recommends making a pact with yourself to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day.\nIf\u00a0you don\u2019t have a workout regimen, take some time each day to go for a walk \u2014 exercise can be a powerful means of managing stress.\nHold onto good habits\nThe CDC advises that healthy habits can help you manage feelings of stress. Eat well-balanced meals, get plenty of sleep, spend time alone or with your partner to unwind.