Here’s how to be an emotional prepper this holiday season.

My thing with the holidays is that I always look forward to this time of year, but then when it comes, I feel like I'm doing anything I can just to get through it.

My thing with the holidays is that I always look forward to this time of year, but then when it comes, I feel like I'm doing anything I can just to get through it.

It's all just exhausting — giving and receiving presents, traveling, worrying about money, your routine getting interrupted, lots more time than usual with people (your family, other people's families, coworkers, your partner's coworkers, etc.), being alone when you'd rather not be (if that is your deal, btw, I highly recommend this guide to doing Christmas alone) — and after the new year I feel like I've been run over by a Zamboni.

But this year I have a plan. And it's not over the top or super aspirational self-care-wise. I'm just putting in place five (five!) easy, quick things that I have VERY good reason to believe will keep me feeling OK (if not good!). I suspect these will work because they're all things that keep me together throughout my day-to-day life, so packing them all into a span of a couple weeks should work like a charm.

@80s_90s_00s / Via instagram.com

I'm downloading episodes of Parks and Rec to my iPhone.

I'm downloading episodes of Parks and Rec to my iPhone.

If you don't already have a TV show that always delights you no matter what, I'm going to need you to get involved with that immediately. And then you should download a few episodes RIGHT AWAY so that they're on your phone when you need to sneak away for 10 minutes (or a couple hours) — watch them to your heart's content with or without a Wi-Fi signal. Trying to figure out what to watch when you're already deep in stress or despair or stuck somewhere without internet access is basically the rotten cherry on a miserable sundae, so avoid it at all costs.

Parks and Rec has gotten me through so many stressful moments and sleepless nights. And knowing that there's a handful of episodes right there on my phone waiting for me when I crawl into bed at night, or just whenever I need them, is really comforting.

NBC / Via Twitter: @nocontextpawnee

I'm going to take a morning and/or evening walk EVERY DAY.

I'm going to take a morning and/or evening walk EVERY DAY.

I usually opt to stop working out for any period of time that I'm traveling. I need a rest week or two built into my programming anyway, and lining it up with travel removes the headache of packing all my workout gear, wondering how I'll get to the nearby gym, wondering if the nearby gym will have the stuff I need, etc. But when I'm not working out everyday I start to really miss that one hour a day when I'm alone, in my head, and moving my body. So, I go for walks.

My favorite times of day are early morning and dusk when it's chill and calm and just me, my podcast, the squirrels, and people's pretty Christmas decorations in their windows and on their houses. You can also take walks when they're urgently needed in the moment (like when shit at home is falling apart), but I prefer the prophylactic stroll around. Note: You can do this even if you're not traveling for the holidays!

@sallytamarkin / Via instagram.com

I'm hoarding podcast episodes.

I'm hoarding podcast episodes.

My podcast feed is a precious, precious place. I need my podcasts the way music people need certain albums or artists. In fact, the only time I'm not spending all my time listening to them is in the couple weeks before Christmas. During that time I don't listen to ANY new episodes. Why? Because I'm collecting the shit out them so that when I really need an engrossing story or a fascinating interview, I'm totally covered and can binge on my favorites. But also, beyond the distraction that a great podcast episode provides, knowing that you have a pile of your favorite thing, instead of just one or two of your favorite thing, is just such a delight.

Sally Tamarkin

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