7 Tips To Avoid Stressing Out This Holiday

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Oh, the weather outside is frightful—and even indoors, it's not much better. Between playing the guessing game that is finding a good gift for dad (forever a gifting enigma), hitting up a million and one holiday parties (and consequently recovering the next morning), and biting your tongue at holiday dinners with your extended fam, this time of year can be as stressful as it is festive. But while life would probably be less hectic if you could hide under a blanket with a mug of hot chocolate, it just wouldn't be as fun—probably.

The good news: You can survive the holiday season without losing every shred of holiday spirit to the hustle and bustle. It just takes a little prep and, of course, quality time for yourself. Because while you're running around trying to think up great, thoughtful gifts, you need to treat yourself a little. That might mean an impromptu massage, a cozy night in, or even a little gift for you. (Hey, everyone does it.) So we've teamed up with Sephora to give you the best tips and tricks for keeping your cool through the holidays and beyond. You won't just survive the season, you'll even enjoy it—we promise!

Get Ahead on Gifting

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It might seem a little aggro to stock up on gifts before you even see a single snowflake, but like the scouts always say: Always be prepared. And with Sephora's Gift Finder, which gives you a little quiz to learn about the recipient and (key!) your budget, it's simplified. In a few clicks, you can discover what will eventually be your BFF's new favorite lipstick. If you prefer to browse in person—and with someone who knows what's new and in-demand—try Sephora's new Holiday Gift Shopping Service, which pairs you with a pro in-store. Just book your one-on-one session, which is tailored to you and takes 20 minutes, online beforehand.

Set Your Budget Beforehand

You may love your friends and fam (duh) but nothing hurts quite like looking at your receipts and realizing you spent way too much money. And if you don't keep track of your spending as you're shopping, it could lead to a not-so-fun surprise once your credit-card bill arrives. So set a max amount of your total gifting and divvy it up between the recipients. And cut corners by, say, buying and dividing a gift set among your friends so they each get a new lip gloss or nail polish—versus buying each individually, which could cost more.

Make a List, Check It Twice

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No, not that kind of list. It sounds all sorts of cheesy, but writing down three things you're grateful for at the end of the day can put anything into perspective, even a flubbed presentation at work or the fact that you now have to buy presents for your new in-laws, too. Write one thing you're thankful for about your job, about yourself, and about your friends and family.

Phone a (Virtual) Friend

If your sister doesn't need yet another set of pajamas, that's totally fine. You can just ask Sephora's community-based Gifting Group for their wishlists and gather inspo accordingly. (Think of it as your go-to for smart, crowdsourced gift ideas.) A quick skim shows that you can't go wrong with a set of lip balms, which will always be appreciated in the winter.

Go for a Walk

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Power-walking through the mall doesn't count. Between the sugar highs and the busy schedule around the holidays, it's easy for your body to feel more "meh" than merry. Whether you prefer going for a walk, to a yoga class, or just stretching before bed, taking a little time to focus on your body can have lasting consequences, like helping you focus and seriously boosting your mood.

Book a Beauty Treatment

Treat yourself to a moment of zen—no texts, no work emails, no reminders from mom—by booking a massage or facial. Not only will it force you to unplug for awhile, it'll also help you give yourself a little much-needed attention. Plus, if you go for a facial, few extractions could help if you're dealing with a sugar cookie-induced breakout.

Go to Bed (Seriously)

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Even if you haven't had a set bedtime in forever, it's worth sticking to one now. That can be hard in between holiday parties and non-holiday parties, but not impossible: Set a reminder on your phone to call it a night by a certain time when you're out with your friends, unplug early when you are staying in, and set your alarm for a little later when you know you'll be struggling in the AM.

This post is sponsored by Sephora.