Coping With Anxiety During The Holidays

Coping With Anxiety During The Holidays

This time of year is tough for everyone. What makes it worse is when you’re an introvert and already have anxiety. Just know you’re not alone when it comes to coping with anxiety during the holidays.

The holidays should be fun. You (hopefully) get time off from work. The kids are home from school. Family and friends you haven’t seen in god knows how long are scheduling visits and get-togethers.

But the holidays are overwhelming for people like me.

I even stress about letting people know I’m stressed.

Dealing With Holiday Anxiety

Money. Family. Other people. The fear of failing or falling short on gifts.

Being afraid of not playing the role of father, or brother, or son, or friend well enough.

Did I do enough? Will my family think I contributed enough? Do I have enough money to make this Christmas nice enough for what my family deserves?

These are all questions that go through my head every year.

I can’t remember the last December I haven’t had crippling anxiety.

But I’m sick of Thanksgiving hitting, and constantly thinking to myself “I just can’t wait until January 2nd.”

Your life shouldn’t be reduced to wishing away giant stretches of time. Especially time that your family cherishes!

Remember what I said in a previous post, that i’s ok to be an introvert!

But you must overcome some of the challenges that go along with being an introvert in order to make the holiday time a nice time for your loved ones.

Holiday Stress and Mental Health

Coping with anxiety during the holidays is a massive challenge to our mental health. It’s important to remember to not fall back on some of the vices or crutches that could make anxiety worse.

Instead, take steps to find positive outcomes.

Remember the most important thing when dealing with the stress of holiday time, or any time, is to make sure you put your needs at the forefront.

It’s just not possible to be there for others or accomplish anything if we aren’t in the right mental space. In fact, if we don’t make our own mental health a priority, it will make everything worse for everyone.

My favorite thing to do when I’m feeling stress around the holidays is to make sure I take some time for myself. You need to take a step back and breathe.

Even if it’s just a for a few minutes.

Maybe you’ve got an office holiday party to attend; take a half an hour beforehand and just have some alone time.

If you’re into meditation, meditate! If you’re not, just take some time to just be.

Listen to music. Or just be in silence.

It’s a great way to mentally prepare for social interaction.

Another thing you need to make sure those closest to you know your needs and limits and actually have empathy toward those needs and limits.

Just because (what feels like) “everyone else” is the life of the party, or mingling with everyone, or telling their life stories to everyone, doesn’t mean you have to.

And your partner or spouse shouldn’t make you feel like you have to.

In addition to the social interactions, money is another gigantic stressor during holiday time.

Growing up, we didn’t have much.

As a kid, I always was jealous of my friends or cousins who seemed to get so many gifts a Christmas time.

I looked around me and it seemed like there was a competition been their parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and Santa, with who could give them more.

Now, as I’m an adult, I see this around me with family ad friends. The pressure of keeping up with or wanting to do more and more and more is hard to deal with.

People are spending more money than they have, or should be spending, on the holidays.

People are going broke, pawning their valuables, selling plasma, maxing out credit cards; just to buy “things”.

Make a budget and stick to it. Don’t fall into the trap of “keeping up” with others.

Let it be known to your spouse and loved ones what you can and cannot do.

Set expectations. Create boundaries. Take care of and make time for yourself.

How Do I Overcome Holiday Anxiety?

It’s a question I continue to struggle with. And I’m constantly working on it.

I’ve not overcome it myself and this is a journey I’m going on with you.

How are you overcoming holiday anxiety and coping with anxiety during the holidays?

All I know is finally, this year, I’m not going to let it ruin Christmas for my family. I’m not going to just say to myself “Well, it’s holiday time, I guess I’ll just have crippling anxiety until January 2nd”

Nope.

Not this year. My kids deserve a fun dad during their favorite time of year.

My wife deserves a fun and happy husband during her favorite time of year.

I can do this. WE can do this.

Check out the APA site here on some great additional ways to not just survive, but thrive, through the holiday season. Your family deserves it. YOU deserve it.

Remember you’re not alone in this. That’s what’s getting me through.

My goal with this blog is to one day look back and realize how far I’ve come. And I want that for you too.

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