Submitted by Janet Benedict on
The holiday season has begun! As excited as I am about it, the chaos of it all can feed my anxiety. There are so many things to do, so many places to go, and so many people to spend time with. It can get hectic.
This season can be the most wonderful time of the year, but it can also be the cause of problems for many people. But with all of the wonderful things going on, you don’t want to take your focus off of what matters most. That’s why it’s important to have ways to deal with your anxiety during this time.
Here are a few tips for dealing with stress and anxiety during the holidays!
- Do a Brain Dump
When you have so many commitments, responsibilities, things to keep track of, and everything else, your brain can easily end up feeling burned out. So, get it all out of your head! Grab a piece of paper and write down everything that’s on your mind. Once everything is out of your head and down on paper, you should feel clearer headed and less overwhelmed. If you are more interested in keeping lists on your phone, do it that way. I like paper for this sort of thing and others can easily see it too and know where I am at.
- Being Organized and Planning
This goes along with number one. When you have everything out of your head, it’s time to get things organized. Write a list of everything you need to do, dishes you need to make, where you have to be, things you need to buy, and everything else. Getting a planner to keep track of everything is a good idea. This can drastically reduce the amount of overwhelm you’re feeling.
- Set Boundaries
Some of us have those intrusive or toxic family members/friends, it’s important that you set boundaries with them. Whether you don’t want to talk about certain topics, don’t want to have people staying overnight at your house, or something else. Make sure that they respect these boundaries, and don’t feel guilty about it. Your mental well-being is important, and they should understand that.
- Ask for Help If You Need It
If you’re hosting the holidays at your place, don’t feel like you need do everything by yourself.
Ask everyone to bring a dish with them so you don’t have to cook everything. If you have a partner or kids, ask them to help you clean. If there’s anything else you need help with, don’t be afraid to reach out and ask someone. You would be surprised at how happy they are to be helping you out.
- Make an Escape Plan
When visiting others having an escape plan can really help you to handle holiday anxiety. If things get to be too much, have a plan that allows you to leave. Or if you have a partner, let them know that you want to leave right after dessert or by a certain time. If you are entertaining and need a breather, let your partner know you need a few minutes quiet and excuse yourself for 10 minutes. Go to your room or step outside, take a deep breath and carry on. Plan these things out so you know what to do if the time comes.
- Remember That It’s Temporary
Keep in mind that the holiday season just a few weeks long. It will come and go and then life will return to normal. When it’s over, it will be a new year and a chance to start fresh. So, no matter how we’re feeling in the moment, it’s nothing to get super stressed out over. It’s supposed to be a time of happiness, after all!
- Take Care of Yourself
Self-care is always important, but it’s especially important during overwhelming times like the holidays. Just because you have a lot of commitments doesn’t mean that you should forget about self-care, though. I know you might not think you have time for it, but there are many ways to make sure you’re prioritizing self-care during the holidays. Plan small sections of time for YOU.
- Lower Your Expectations
Perfectionism can be a big cause of anxiety. But no one’s holidays are perfect. If you’re hosting a gathering at your house, don’t get too worked up about the little things – no one is expecting perfection. Don’t get too stressed out if something goes wrong. After all, what really matters during the holidays is the people that you’re spending it with. Which leads me to the next tip…
- Pay Attention to What Matters
One thing that helps take holiday anxiety away from me is paying attention to what matters most. If you’re religious, this could mean focusing on religious reasons behind the holiday you’re celebrating. It could mean focusing on your family and holiday traditions, or it could mean giving back and showing compassion to people.
Whatever the holidays are about for you, focus on those positives. Embrace the joy of the season!
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