Traveling to see family over the holidays or hosting the festivities in your home? Even the best of circumstances can cause anxiety and stress when you are thrown into a new routine or environment. Here are 5 easy ways to help ease tension and make it through the holidays alive.

1. Be Prepared Both Mentally and Physically. I know…easier said than done, right? Trying to get enough sleep, proper nutrition and exercise during the holidays is about as easy as winning the lottery. But, stress is always easier to handle when you’re feeling your best. If the family is arriving tomorrow and you’ve been too busy wrapping, decorating and cooking to take care of yourself, try to take 5-10 mins at the start of every day to meditate. Meditation or Mindfulness helps improve energy and reduce stress and anxiety.

2. Know Your Triggers and Have an Exit Plan. Does Uncle Bob always try to engage you in a political debate? Does Great-Aunt Marge give you a hard time because you’re a vegetarian? Don’t add to your stress by worrying about a confrontation; but being aware of what may lead to conflict and having an exit strategy may be all it takes to avoid another family fall-out.

3. Take Time Out. If you find yourself being sucked into an argument, excuse yourself from the conversation as soon as you start to feel those negative emotions creeping in. Take some deep breaths, go for a walk, sip some green tea, listen to your favorite music. Aromatherapy, especially lavender, citrus and tea tree are known to help soothe and relax.

4.  Find a Reason To Laugh. Really…who doesn’t feel better after a good laugh? Find a funny movie to watch with your family or search for funny YouTube videos (pets and kids usually do the trick). Sometimes I challenge my daughter to a scowl contest and we’re both laughing in no time.

5. Practice Gratitude. Make a list of all the things you’re thankful for. Studies have linked gratitude to better health including both physical and mental benefits. This is also a great way to turn a boring task into a positive experience. My aunt once told me that she had come to enjoy washing dishes after a dinner party because it allowed her to “re-live” the evening’s conversations and fun.

If all else fails, schedule a chiropractic appointment and let Dr. Brooke or Dr Kris release that holiday tension so you can start the New Year refreshed!