It's here. The most wonderful, weight-gaining, money-spending, schedule-packed time of the year is upon us. Here are three simple ways to manage the overwhelm and keep a positive perspective this year.

Just say no

Obligations are not fun, they are obligations. Pick at least one event you dread every year and do not go. That's it, don't go. Use the time for anything else or nothing else but don't attend.

Too easy? If you could, you would have done this already? Well, why haven't you? Too many times we get stuck thinking we have no way out. Consider this: If you had an emergency of some kind and you could not attend, what would happen? The party would likely go on without you.

Or does the thought of not going remind you of five things you will miss about going? Make a conscious decision and a deal with yourself. Either (1) name the reasons you do not like going and one thing you would rather do with the time, then decline and be sure to do the thing. Or (2) think of three things you enjoy about the event and focus on only those three things while you are there.

Take a minute

Literally, take one minute at least once a day or before doing a holiday activity to think. By pausing and approaching each day or event with even the tiniest bit of intention we can reduce stress as well as feeling out of control or overwhelmed with our hectic schedule.

Set the timer on your phone and ask yourself one or all of these question about your day or the activity you are about to do:

  • What am I looking forward to?
  • Will I get or can I make the opportunity to smile, sing or laugh?
  • Is there a way for me to help someone else enjoy this?

Make a list

This is a stressful time. Grab a glass of eggnog and make a list of the things you love about the season. Put the list on your desk or post it in unexpected places — in your car or the bathroom and look at it regularly.

Better yet, engage your co-workers. Put a posterboard on the wall in the break room or outside your cube and ask everyone to list things they love about this time of year. It's a great way to spread joy and keep everyone around you focused on the positive. Plus, you might notice a couple of new ways to enjoy the holidays.

It is a busy, stressful time. But it is also the time of year more people make an effort to volunteer, help others and spread cheer. If we focus on that instead of the rest we will be well on our way to a happy new year.