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How to Deal With Holiday Anxiety

How to Deal With Holiday Anxiety

When we think of the holiday season, almost all positive things come to mind—cheerful music, celebrations with family and friends, great food and presents for all. However, this is not the reality for everyone if they’ve experienced family dysfunction, loss, or struggle with anxiety. As the days get shorter and colder, and anxious feelings about another year ending without enough of our goals accomplished, keeping a cheerful face on can be an impossible task. So, what is it about the holidays that gives us the most joy—but also, sometimes, the most sorrow? How do we prepare and how do we deal?

The Season of Comparisons

Being continuously swarmed by images of happy families and adequate wealth, among other luxuries, can have a damaging effect on how we see our realities. The images we see during the holiday season are trying to portray nothing but a positive holiday experience, and our lives are not always just like the ads or movies. Whether we’ve experienced loss and grief during this time of year, do not have a family to spend the season with, or do not have a picture-perfect holiday experience, wanting to compare our realities to others will result in pain and loneliness.

As you catch yourself in the act of comparing your seasonal experiences to others’, remember to bring yourself back to reality. This can be done with a little self-care, intention setting, and giving of thanks. Make a list of all of the things you are thankful for and instead shift your focus to your direct experiences. Bringing yourself back to center will make all the difference as you swim through the seas of Christmas movies, Christmas advertisements, and others’ social media account highlights.

Too Much To Do, Too Little Time—Relax and Make Mistakes

It’s a Christmas miracle everyone doesn’t buckle under the pressure of extensive shopping lists, decorations and holiday planning as we slip into a new year. The holiday season is the busiest of the year, and all of that expectation can lead to severe disappointment. To combat feelings of inadequacy and failure to make the holiday perfect, we need to look perfectionism in the eye and realize, again, that this is not reality.

Commit yourself to make up your less-than-perfect or quirky holiday traditions and focus on uniqueness. Create memories that are unique to you and your loved ones will make the season that much more meaningful, forgiving, and memorable.

Become more aware of your holiday triggers as you move through the season so that you can bring yourself back to what makes you and your family unique. Celebrate what makes you happy this season and have the most meaningful holiday yet!

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