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48853974_MStress is a natural reaction to events in our lives that are complex, tiring and daunting. It’s particularly common at the holidays when we are pulled in many different directions, from expectations that we will attend family gatherings to plans to gift giving and more. Here are three simple and effective ways to manage stress during a busy time of the year.

Breathe deeply. Studies show that meditation has numerous benefits for older adults. Feeling yourself becoming overwhelmed? Closing your eyes, listening to soothing music and taking deep, cleansing breaths can help. A review of more than one dozen studies involving older adults suggests that meditation was linked to positive effects on attention, memory, executive function, processing speed and general cognition. Other studies have shown physical benefits such as reduced inflammation and better digestion. Not sure where to start? There’s a variety of top-rated free and low-cost apps. One is the Calm app. Calm offers guided meditation with soothing music in 3- to 25-minute sessions. Want to develop a daily meditation practice, try Daily Calm, the app’s 10-minute program you can practice in the mornings or evenings.

Stick to your calendar. Organization is the enemy of chaos. Write down your schedule and commit only to how much you’re willing to do, even if it means only one big event per day. If two major family gatherings happen to fall in the same time period, know it’s OK to pick just one—or invite people to come to you instead at a time that works for everyone.

Make time for enjoyable activities. Make sure you’re taking time during this busy season to do things you truly enjoy. Activities such as reading a book can provide an escape from the daily hustle and bustle. Enjoy taking regular breaks to simply look after your own well-being.