When you’re in the thick of the stilted party small talk or the family bickering, pause to briefly scan your body from head to toe for incipient tension, advised Neda Gould, clinical psychologist and director of the Johns Hopkins Mindfulness Program in Baltimore.

As soon as you notice signs of stress, whether it’s a rapid heart rate or tense shoulders, take a few minutes to practice mindful breathing, Dr. Gould advised, which you can do anywhere — including while standing in an epic line at Target. “Even in 10 seconds, we can pause, notice our senses and take a few deep breaths, and that signals to the brain and body that, ‘OK, there’s no danger right now.’”

Pearlman, the UPS driver, makes sure his fitness routine doesn’t slide during the holidays, even though working for the shipping company is a “highly stressful job” this time of year, he said. Stretching after work is also important, he added. I preach stretching to the other drivers. If you’re going to come home and open a beer, get on the ground, have your beer on the side and stretch for five minutes.”

Dean Reid, the general manager of a P.C. Richard & Son appliance and television store in Harlem, created a personal incentive program to get himself through the mayhem of long lines and panic buyers at his store. “I’ll get something sweet for lunch that puts a smile on my face and makes me feel a little better, like carrot cake or something like that,” he said. “And I schedule my January vacation ahead of time, so I can think about it when things are busy. That helps me stay calm and keep rolling.”

Shirel Ben Harroush, owner of the kosher Gratzia Bakery in Chicago, said she had already received about 5,000 orders for sufganiyot, the traditional jelly doughnut of Hanukkah. She aims to do things in advance, she said — sound advice for everyone. “I ordered the supplies way ahead of time, so I have the jelly and the custard and we are ready,” she said. And don’t hesitate to ask for help if you need it, she added. “I’m hiring a guy just for sufganiyot, to make sure our customers will have their orders.”

I have already taken her advice. This Christmas, I’m hosting my extended family for the first time and rather than cooking everything myself, I’ve asked everyone to bring food. Though I do wish I had my own sufganiyot guy.

If you feel your anxiety levels zooming northward in certain situations — say, the oven is on the fritz and guests are arriving in 30 minutes — Dr. Gould advises doing a quick gut check. Name the top three things that are important to you in that moment, she said, and let the rest of them go. If your priority is having time to connect with family and friends, she said, “then you get some perspective and realize it’s OK if your pie isn’t perfect.”

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