The holiday season has arrived and with that comes additional stress for many. Between family, friends, personal well being, work, and travel--many new obstacles present themselves during this time of the year.

Speaking of travel, this year is shaping up to be the busiest in 13 years, according to AAA. Thanksgiving alone, 44.3 million Americans are projected to travel 50 or more miles away from their home.

With travel plus the additional activities of the holidays, energy often times becomes spread thin, leaving people heading into the new year fatigue and carrying a few extra pounds.

But, the holidays don't have to equate to a sentence of stress and frazzled thinking which bleeds over into lower productivity. You can maintain your sanity, energy, and productivity during the holidays by focusing on these three key principles.

1. Map out your life.

With extra activities on the horizon, the first thing to, unfortunately, hit the chopping block is personal well being. It's easy to lose sight of your own needs with so many things going on. However, it's imperative that you always put your own oxygen mask on first.

When you don't take care of yourself, not only are you suffering but others are as well since they aren't getting the best version of you. During the holiday season, getting organized with a planner or calendar is paramount.

Become selfish and put yourself first by mapping out your life into four quadrants.

  • You time-- sleep, fitness, personal development, and other things that fill your health bucket up
  • Work time-- business and money making activities
  • Creative & growth time-- planning out your week, working on passion projects, and crafting out future endeavors
  • People time -- Any activities that are done with friends or family, attending events, and etc

2. Plan for the unexpected.

A financial advisor will encourage you to set aside accounts for your retirement, unforeseen accidents, and investments among other things. In this scenario, your advisor is helping you to front-load your work.

When you front-load your work, you're attempting to predict future events that could derail you from your goals.

With the holidays, the same philosophy applies. With ample amounts of extracurricular activities on the horizon, there's a high probability that things will go against your liking. In this instance, take some time to think of obstacles and scenarios where things could go wrong.

After you identify those potential issues, craft up a solution and how you will emotionally respond to the situation. Doing this kind of work beforehand helps you maintain a sense of control which lessens potential anxiety and stress from overwhelming your emotions.

3. Adopt a something is better than nothing philosophy.

Hectic schedules and traveling can, often times, serve as impending doom to people's healthy habits. But with a simple mindset shift, staying healthy and energetic during the holidays is more than feasible.

During this season, your normal routine will be affected. But, doing something is better than doing nothing. If you can't make it to the gym, doing bodyweight exercises at home is valuable. Going for a run and taking in the new sights of a city you're visiting is putting a checkmark beside the tourist and healthy habit box.

With extra stress being likely, moving your body becomes even more critical due to those feel-good endorphins being released which makes you more resilient to potential mental stressors.

Before you get engulfed by the holidays, call a personal timeout and craft a strategy that will have you approaching the new year with momentum.

Published on: Nov 23, 2018
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.