8 Tips For Having the Best, Most Relaxing Holidays Ever

POPSUGAR Photography | Mark Popovich
POPSUGAR Photography | Mark Popovich

Jennifer Grace is a Hay House radio host, former SAG actress, and current executive transformational coach who teaches Stanford University's famous Creative in Business course at the Standard Hotel in Miami — and she has quite a bit to say about the holidays. Specifically, how we all can remain calm (mildly difficult), stress-free (difficult), and happy (!) in the midst of the chaos. Check out Grace's eight tips for a truly enjoyable time spent with family and friends as we near the new year.

1. Let go and focus on the present.

"Focus on the present moment. Most people get stressed out when they worry about the future or regret the past. Don't worry if your in-laws are going to upset you this year during the family gathering. Let go of judgment and expectations and see what unfolds. They might just surprise you this year!"

2. Keep the big picture in mind.

"Because there are so many family dynamics and extra social activities that are being piled upon our plates, we tend to get more frazzled during the holiday season. We get so caught up in the commercialism and forget what the season is really all about."

3. If your budget is limited, think outside the box.

"Get creative! Have a potluck holiday celebration, so that your family doesn't have to incur all of the expense. Make personal, thoughtful gifts by hand; they are much more touching than store-bought. Put everyone's name into a hat and simply buy one person a gift this year instead of everyone."

4. Don't be afraid to say no.

"Make 'no' a complete sentence. Many of us try to people-please during the holidays and overextend ourselves with too many commitments to show up at too many events. It's OK to say no. Pick and choose who you really want to spend time with this season — the rest can wait until next year."

5. Use an easy form of meditation to relax.

"Five, 4, 3, 2, 1 is the perfect tool to meditate on what's around you. This exercise can get you out of feelings of overwhelm and back into the present moment where peace lives. It takes only five minutes. First, find five objects in the room to notice, then four objects to touch, three sounds to listen to, two objects to smell, and one to taste . . . hopefully a piece of chocolate."

6. Put feuds in the basket.

"Put [family or friend feuds] in the basket. If you and your spouse or family member begin to argue during a holiday event, say, 'let's put it in the basket' — meaning, let's shelf the issue for now so we can enjoy this party, and when you get home you can 'take it out of the basket' and deal with it more appropriately when no one is around."

7. Practice gratitude nightly.

"Be grateful. Practicing gratitude can pull the focus off of what is not working and what is stressful. Each night before you go to sleep, make a list of five things that brought you joy that day and that you are grateful for. The holidays are, after all, supposed to be the most joyful time of the year. With a small shift in perspective . . . it actually can be!"

8. Carve out chill time.

"Slow down. We tend to rush and run around so much during this season, that in an instant it is over, and we forgot to enjoy it. Cut your commitments in half, spend more time with the family and less time at parties and events, and focus on the simple things in life like, how the firelight looks in your beloved's eyes."