Although to some it is the most wonderful time of the year, to others it can be seriously stressful. From talking with friends and loved ones this year, I have noticed a serious increase in holiday stress and seasonal depression. As someone who deals with anxiety and the occasional side of depression, here are five ways that you can reduce your holiday anxiety this year.
1. Make Sure You Talk About How You Are Feeling
In all honesty, I am so bad about talking about my feelings. I would rather pent everything up and deal with it constantly in my brain than to let someone help me. If you are serious about trying to reduce your holiday anxiety, the best thing you can do is to talk to someone about it. This can be your partner, your friend, or even your family.
Talking about your feelings can help you process everything. You can figure out what is making you feel a certain way, when those feelings are arising, and tricks to overcoming that stress that you may be feeling.
2. You Don’t Owe Anyone Anything
A lot of stress this times of year comes from the expectations we think people have of us. Not the expectations they actually have. The best way to reduce holiday anxiety is to realize that we don’t owe anyone anything. You don’t have to show up to Christmas dinner if you are not comfortable going. No one is demanding you buy a gift for everyone in your family.
This year, more than any other year has taught us the importance of taking care of ourselves first. Even though your mom may be mad that you are not bringing your famous holiday bread, maybe you just are not in the mood to bake, and that is okay.
3. The Holidays are What You Make of Them
Listen, the only person you should try and make happy during this time of the year is yourself. If you are not a fan of a Christmas tree, don’t put one up. Maybe you think peppermint tastes like crap; you’re not alone. The best thing about the holiday season is that it can be whatever you want it to be. There is no holiday handbook, contrary to what The Whos have to say about it.
4. Create Traditions That Work For You
Now that I am decently into my thirties, so many of the holiday traditions I have are rooted around what my family did in years past. Considering that my views and values do not align with many of theirs, I have set on a path to make my holiday traditions with my boyfriend, our family, and our friends.
I have found one of the best ways to do this is to create a festive bucket list. Take a sheet of paper, or even your phone, and write out a list of things you want to do during the festive months. Pinterest is a great place to find some fantastic ideas! By doing this, you can find things that actually bring you joy and not things that you feel like you need to do just do them. It allows you to spend your holidays how you want.
5. Keep Yourself Busy
I know you have heard this one a million times, but this is seriously one of the best ways to reduce holiday anxiety. I always notice my anxiety or oncoming seasonal depression when I have a lapse in activity. If you are coming up on final exams or only in lockdown, you may these feelings creeping back in.
I used to be the laziest person on Earth, seriously. Ask my old roommates. Having a routine around my house has made such a difference. Instead of just vegging out in front of the television or computer, I try and do tasks. Instead of scrolling on social media, I will take a nice bath or read my current book. Just anything to keep your mind from dying down.