It's November, signaling the start of the "holiday season." For each of us, this time of year holds a unique significance and evokes different emotions. You might be one of those individuals who experience heartwarming nostalgia when contemplating holiday gatherings with your family. Alternatively, if you're like me, the mere mention of "Christmas" can trigger a surge of anxiety. If you resonate with my feelings, know that you're not alone, and I'm here to share some of my top tips for managing holiday anxiety. Remember, mental health remains crucial every day of the year, and you should never feel compelled to prioritize others' contentment over your own well-being.
Tip #1: Plan Ahead: Create a detailed plan for the holiday season. This might include scheduling time for self-care, setting realistic expectations, and making to-do lists to stay organized. Knowing what to expect can alleviate some of the stress. For example, between my husband and me, we have a large extended family. Some of the stress I feel comes from the sensation of being pulled in ten different directions within just a day or two. I want to savor quality time with my family without constantly rushing from one household to another. So, my husband and I take turns celebrating holidays with our families. One year, we'll spend Thanksgiving with my family and Christmas with his. The following year we’d flip it.
Tip #2: Set Boundaries: Don't be afraid to establish boundaries for yourself and communicate them to your loved ones. It's okay to say no to certain commitments or gatherings if they contribute to your anxiety. Prioritize your well-being and mental health. Food and money can be a common stressor during this time and it might be helpful to communicate that with your partner or family so that there’s an awareness around this.
Tip #3: Practice Self-Care: Make self-care a priority during the holiday season. Take time for relaxation, exercise, and mindfulness activities. For me, I've got to make sure I get some "me time." I'm mostly an introvert, and while I love hanging out with family and friends, I need a breather to recharge my social battery between visits. I'm sure some of you get where I'm coming from! So, don't hesitate to take a little break when you need it. I promise, I'm way friendlier when I've had a chance to reset.