Here's a tip to reduce holiday stress: make a plan!
Before the holiday season gets too far along, set some ground rules.
How many events a week do you want to attend? How late will you stay? Are there any actions or comments that are non-negotiable and mean you'll leave immediately? Get everybody in your household on board.
If you set a hard limit on how long you will stay, when that time comes--LEAVE!
It will be hard. Someone will make you feel guilty for having a boundary. It may mean you don't get to have dinner there. Or open presents. Again, you need to have a plan for those outcomes, for the worst case scenario.
Can you get fast food on the way home if you didn't get to eat? Can you take the presents and open them on a video call with the gifter the next day, when it's convenient for you?
This year I'm going to set boundaries around how long I stay at events. I will have other obligations I have to handle when it's time to leave--even if it's "just" making sure I have enough time to read a little before I go to bed at a decent time.
You can make plans with yourself! Put it on the calendar so you could show it to your family if you needed to (I doubt you'll need to, but they could try to call your bluff). Be ok with being the "unreasonable one" this year, knowing that you're taking care of yourself so you can have your chillest holiday ever.
Breathe deep. Drink plenty of water. You got this!
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