With the holidays comes jolly, joy, laughter and for some a high amount of stress and anxiety. Managing holiday anxiety shouldn’t be a daunting task for those that suffer. Being clinically diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and at one point severe depressive disorder, as much as I love the holidays I to have to make sure I am managing holiday anxiety once that season comes around.
The holiday season isn’t the same for everyone and can often be the cause of major anxiety for many. For whatever reason it may be, the season of giving can also be a time of grieving, reflecting on pain and just outright stress. With the insane amount of pressure society places on us to buy into big sales, the perfect holiday images and more it’s no wonder people are suffering from holiday anxiety more and more each year.
According to a survey by the American Psychological Association, 38 percent of people said their stress and anxiety level increases during the holidays. So while for many it’s the most wonderful time of year, there are people out there who are feeling a little bah humbug.
The stress of the holidays can come for a variety of places but how you’re able to cope, manage and deal with it is key in your survival. Personally, as much as I love the holiday season, the songs, the traditions, and all that jazz, it’s hard not to feel the pressure or some kind of anxiety around it.
So that’s what leads me to ways I’ve been able to manage holiday anxiety and stress. These 4 tips have helped me year after year and I hope you find solace in these tools and can use them when necessary.
Four Tips for Managing Holiday Anxiety & Stress
During the holidays it’s easy to get caught up in what you want to do and what is realistic for you to do. Be honest with yourself to eliminate guilt & stress.
Life doesn’t need to resemble a television show or your favorite lifestyle movie. While you may have rituals or traditions it’s the memories you will make that your children/family will remember the most.
Being realistic with yourself is essential for your mental health because you’re setting expectations with yourself that are realistic to protect yourself from possibly stress induced triggers.
I know this season is all about giving, spending time with family and holiday cheer. But when it comes to holiday stress and anxiety, just say no.
My grandmother used to say “you don’t need to dance in every parade” and I carry that with me even throughout the holidays. There will be events you need to turn down and people you have to honestly say no too.
Get comfortable navigating in a space where you can control your narrative. – Say no if it means saving your sanity during the holidays.
Saying no is a boundary practice and an act of realistic self-care.
Stay In Routine
Don’t let the holidays become a time where you let go!
Creating boundaries around your time and energy is essential so, if having a set routine is what keeps you in check all year round then there’s no reason you should abandon it when the holidays roll in.
However you slice it, don’t let go of your healthy habits such as your routine, as this will only add on to your anxiety and stress when it comes time to look back at yourself when it’s all over. For me, having a routine in place is something that level sets my headspace so that I can always be aware of what happens next and when.
Try to keep up with your fitness goals, your journaling, and affirmations during this time of year as they will be imperative of keeping a good mindset.
Understand your triggers
If you’ve been dealing with anxiety for a long time then it’s essential to know your triggers. When you understand your triggers then it’ll be easier for you to avoid them. Reflect on the last holiday season and what caused your anxiety and stress & plan ahead to make it a little bit easier on yourself..
If spending time with your big family is a stressor and you can’t avoid it, plan ahead what you want to say or do in the moment of someone getting on your nerves. Or best of all, find a random excuse and get yourself out it.
The more we protect ourselves from those who set off our triggers, the easier it’ll be.
Overall, managing holiday anxiety and stress may seem difficult but you can get through it. Arm yourself with the tools necessary and take it day by day.