The Holidays can be a wonderful time of year for many people. The excitement of exchanging gifts, seeing family and friends, and traveling are typically a few things that everyone anticipates. Sharing time with family and friends and preparing for the New Year are undeniably exciting occasions worth looking forward to.

While the Holidays can be such an enjoyable time for many, they can also be a source of stress for many students. With the rush of holiday shopping, family functions, standardized tests, and regular decision college deadlines approaching, there’s no wonder that many students may find themselves feeling a bit more overwhelmed than usual.

Try using these tips to help manage your stress levels ensure a smoother holiday season:

1. Plan in Advance

Having a plan can help you get ahead this Holiday Season. Making a checklist of the things you need to do can help you stay on top of your tasks that you need to accomplish. Keep track of your college application deadlines and ensure that you have completed everything you need before submitting your application, to avoid any issues. If you are traveling this Holiday Season, be sure to bring your laptop and any documents you may need to your destination, so that you can have access while on your trip.

2. Create a back-up plan

In the event that things don’t go as planned, ensure that you have a back-up plan. While you may have your eyes and heart set on a particular school, be sure to apply to more than one in case you don’t receive admission to the school that you desire. Having a plan B can be helpful if or when things take an unexpected turn.

3. Practice Mindfulness

It is important to be aware of what you’re thinking about. When the world around us is busy, it is easy to become overwhelmed, but if your thoughts are aimlessly running rampant, it is even easier to feel this way. Practicing mindfulness and paying attention to what you’re thinking about and giving energy to can help you to be more productive and less stressed this season.

4. Accept Imperfection

Having realistic expectations and accepting imperfection will go a long way in managing your stress and anxiety. Balancing holiday plans while also getting work done is a juggling act. Mentally preparing yourself and understanding that mistakes happen and things may not always go as planned will save you a lot of disappointment in the end.

5. Practice self-care

Finally, in the midst of getting everything on your list checked off, it is important not to neglect yourself in the process. Exercising, engaging in fun activities, eating healthy, and reading a book are all great ways to put your mind at ease. It is also okay to say “no” to certain plans this season if they’re going to stretch you too thin. While accomplishing your to-do list may be important, it is equally important to take a break and make sure that you are taking care of your needs as well.