Holiday Anxiety Guide | Bye-Bye Anxiety; Hello Happy Holidays
Yesterday while swiping through my social media, I came across several holiday-related posts. They were so pretty that I couldn’t stop but scroll through them! Eventually, I found myself drifting from happy holiday posts to concepts like holiday anxiety, holiday depression, holiday stress, and more! Which made me realize that while many of us might be enjoying and really looking forward to celebrating it, for others it might be asking themselves “why are the holidays stressful?”
That is when I thought of bringing light on “mental health during the holidays,” as someone, somewhere might need this! So if you know someone who is not a holiday lover or if you need that extra help during this holiday season, here is a life-kit for you!
Holiday Anxiety: Your Holiday Season Life Kit:
Holiday Cheers or Anxiety: The Three Phases of Holiday Anxiety
From my analysis of articles, stories of people, and social media posts, holiday-related stress and anxiety can be understood in three phases. This includes:
Pre-Holiday Phase: Oh NO The Planning!
This is the phase where an individual knows that the holidays are approaching, which works as a trigger to bring unhelpful emotions to play. This includes fear, anxiety, stress, and sadness. Often an individual is worried here over the fact that they have to plan for holidays, which includes setting a budget, traveling, or understanding a new way of celebration.
Holiday Season: Am I Doing Enough?
Finally, it is the day! The day when the holiday season starts an individual is consumed with worrisome thoughts of executing the plans or recalling how the previous one went. Along with this, the comparison also comes to play (thanks to improper use of social media), which creates feelings of doubt that, “Am I doing enough?”
Post-Holiday Season: It is Quite Lonely Here
Yay! The holiday season is finally over! But wait what now? The feelings of loneliness start to swipe in as the time with lights, colors, gifts, and your loved ones is over and we are back to our daily life. This can be challenging for many and an individual may take some time to drift out of this phase smoothly.
Holiday Blues Sponsors: Source of Stress During Holidays
No two individuals are alike! Neither is the cause of holiday blue in an individual. Some of the most general sources of stress during the holiday are:
- Stress-related to the three phases discussed above.
- The financial stress of planning holidays and gifts for everyone.
- Inability to meet one’s family, friends, and loved ones.
- Unrealistic expectations from self and others.
- Feelings of not being attended to by others.
- Following the long list of traditions.
- Loss of someone.
- Comparing your fun and holiday time with others.
- People who are already diagnosed with a mental health condition may be surrounded by triggers.
Best Ways To Cope With Holiday Anxiety, Stress, Depression
Dealing with Your Holiday Anxiety:
Here are some ways that can help you sail through holiday blues.
1. Put Yourself First:
This holiday season makes yourself a priority and gives yourself gifts of soul and permission to experience pleasure. Schedule time in your day to take a rest and relax.
2. Cut Down On Your List Of Traditions To Follow. You really don’t have to go overboard and step out of your comfort zone. If you can only follow 3 out of the many traditions that are generally followed, go for them. Don’t force yourself to tick each and everything. Be gentle to yourself.
3. Be Courageous And Say A “NO” When Needed. Saying YES, when you should say a NO can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. That is why it is advised that you should say NO to the situations that bother you, disturb your peace of mind, and push you to the edge. NO is a powerful tool, practice it!
4. Set Healthy Habits And Stick With Them. Your body and mind might crave unhealthy habits like drinking, smoking, and not giving enough time to yourself. That is why it is important to add healthy habits to your lifestyle so that your feelings of joy and happiness increase instead of feelings of depression. Get plenty of sleep and keep yourself hydrated.
5. Let Go Of Expectations. A big source of problems during the holiday season is that you have high expectations and they don’t follow through. This can further pump up other symptoms of anxiety. Therefore, keep your expectation bar low to strike out this source of holiday anxiety. It would be even better if you keep telling yourself the same “I have no expectations.”
6. Plan But Healthily. Plan for your holiday but healthily! Before you go out to get gifts and other kinds of shopping, decide on how much you have to spend on each thing. Along with financial planning, have a plan for your emotional and mental health as well. Identify your triggers, work on ways to keep them in check, and ask for help when needed!
7. Replace Your Negative Self-talk With Positive Ones. Self-talks are guiding energies that channelize in your thoughts, emotions, and actions. Make sure that you are telling yourself positive and healthy things instead of stressful and anxiety-provoking ones. Here are some ways, in which you can, take control of holiday anxiety talks and hand it over to positive ones.
|Holiday Anxiety Talks||Positive Self-talks|
|My holiday needs to be perfect.||Perfection is unrealistic and my best is enough for me.|
|I feel off and not myself.||Let me take a few seconds, breathe, and listen to what my emotions have to say.|
|I can’t get through this holiday. I feel so overwhelmed.||I will take each day as it comes and reach for support as and when needed.|
Easing Holiday Blues for Others: The Change Begins With You
If you know someone who is overwhelmed with the holiday season around the corner, here are a few things that you can consider.
1. Replace Monetary Joy To Creating Memories
Make the other person understand that their gifts don’t define your relationship with them. Instead of talking about gifts that money can buy, cherish your time together and create memories that money can’t get you.
2. Change Your Gift List
Instead of gifts that have monetary value, how about gifting warmth to your loved ones. Show them kindness, shower gratitude on them, and most importantly wrap them in the warmth of your hug. This will make them feel connected and wanted. Also, it will fade out the holiday blues from their life.
3. Connect Virtually
If your loved one is at distance, connect with them virtually.
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Time for you to take control over the holidays rather than being controlled by it. Remember the code:
Know your Holiday Triggers + Works on the Trigger + Turn your Holiday Anxiety To Cheers!
Happy Holidays to you and your loved ones…
P.S.: You are not alone!
If suicidal thoughts are anywhere taking place in your mind, call 911 or 1800-662-4357 (U.S.A.) or suicide prevention helpline in India and untangle the thoughts covering your mind.