It’s supposed to be a joyous time of year, but the hustle and bustle of the holiday season can often lead to stress. The good news is, you can get it under control.  “One thing that’s important is to have realistic expectations,” said New Jersey Psychologist Dr. Steven Tobias. “If you’re going to visit your family and there have been certain problems and conflicts in the past, those problems and conflicts are likely still going to be there.”

When it comes to gift giving, if you don’t have extra money, don’t go crazy. “It’s ok to scale back a little bit and know what you are able to give,” said Tobias. “Sure there are a lot of things you’d probably like to give, but if your economic situation doesn’t allow for it, be realistic. You don’t have to do it all.”

You also need to be aware of what your body is telling you. “Stress can creep up on you, but before it gets to the point where you just can’t take it anymore, tune in to the little signs that your body is giving,” said Tobias. “And make sure you do the things you enjoy that help you de-stress. If you like to work out, don’t stop just because it’s the holidays. Make time to go to the gym. If you enjoy being with friends, make the time to be with them. It’s ok to be a little self-centered to avoid any complications that can arise as a result of stress.”

“Most importantly, don’t lose sight of what the holiday is all about. It’s about people, not things,” he said. “It’s ok to do what’s good and right for you while you’re focusing on others as well.”