What is it about this time of year that brings out the best and worst of people—sometimes all at the same time? Unmet expectations can run wild and suddenly a season of peace on earth and goodwill to everyone is… not that. Well, for the next few minutes give yourself a break, take a few deep breaths, and focus on these fundamental truths that can’t be taken away from you.

1. You are loved
You are a human being, and so that gives you worth beyond measure. God loves you, just as you are, right now. This moment, even in all of its chaos and difficulty, can be an experience of God’s love. Pause and let that work on you. This moment can be an experience of God’s love. Take as much time as you need to let it sink in. You are loved, you are loved, you are loved!

2. You don’t have to feel in the Christmas spirit all the time
You don’t need to force a tear at the end of It’s A Wonderful Life or be thrilled to sing the 12 Days of Christmas. Let yourself off the hook for needing to have a holly jolly Christmas because it might not actually be the best time of the year for you. That’s ok. God still loves you.

3. Gifts aren’t actually a big deal
No matter how hard you try and how much money you spend, gifts aren’t going to truly satisfy anyone. They were never meant to, but it’s almost impossible to escape our culture’s idea that stuff makes us happy. That doesn’t mean you have to continue down that road though. Recalibrate your thoughts on gifts to be little tokens of love, but don’t take the giving of them or the receiving of them to mean more than the relationship you have with that other person.

4. You can miss a Christmas party or two
Often when we try to cram multiple parties in the same day (or sometimes even just in the same weekend), we really aren’t present at any of them. Instead of worrying about rushing from one thing to the next, pick one and really be there for it. Someone might be upset, but that’s ok. You don’t have to bend over backwards to accommodate everyone anymore.

5. Self-care is always ok
Breathing exercises, time alone for a few minutes, a day to rest and recover from everything—it’s all good, and it’s all on the table. You don’t need anyone’s permission to take care of yourself. Just do it. You’ll feel better for it.

I hope this Christmas is one where you have more joy than anxiety, more hope than stress, and more love than you can imagine.