Stress free photo from ShutterstockThe holidays are supposed to be a joyous time of gratitude and spending time with loved ones. But running a business during the holidays can lead to stress and burnout. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be hectic and overwhelming. You can enjoy the holiday season and still keep your business humming along. Here are five strategies to reduce stress during the holidays.

1) Make a list and check it twice. Lists aren’t just for Santa. With all the additional to-dos and events during the holidays, a list will help you stay on top of your activities and arrive where you need to go on time. A web-based resource, such as Evernote, can help you keep organized at work, at home and while on the run.

2) Take on extra help for yourself and your staff. You and your staff are already busy, so taking on the extra tasks of the holidays can be nearly impossible. This is especially true if your business picks up during the holidays. To help offset the extra burden, hire temporary help to pick up the slack and fill-in when staff members are away. Because many people are looking to make extra money during the holidays, it’s not that difficult to find additional help.

3) Shop early and online. Gone are the days in which you have to drive all over town picking up gifts, foods and decorations. If you plan ahead, you can get all your holiday shopping done online. Many stores allow you to order online and pick up at the store if you can’t get the item shipped. If you do need to venture out to local malls, schedule your shopping time during off-peak hours, such as mid-morning or after lunch weekdays, when most people are working.

4) Take time off. According to a survey by American Express, only about 49% of business owners take a week off from their business. Most owners take less time if any at all. Part of the benefits of owning a business, is being your own boss and taking time off to enjoy the fruits of your labor. More importantly, taking time off is important to re-fueling your energy reserves and avoiding burn out.

5) Take care of yourself. Running a business during the holidays can feel like you’re burning the candle at both ends. You can keep your energy up by eating right, getting enough sleep and exercising regularly. At holiday events, try to stick to the veggie tray over the cookies. Attempt to get at least 7 hours of sleep per night with the goal of going to bed and getting up at the same time each day. Finally, even if you can’t get to the gym, you can take a walk during lunch to keep the blood moving, your energy up and your mood lifted.