December is here and the holiday vibes are well underway with everything from roads to retail outlets to houses being lit up carefully. As they say, the holiday spirit is everywhere in the air. ‘Tis the season of joy, merriment, and a dash of existential dread. There, I said it. The pressure of attending or hosting holiday parties, strained relationships with family/friends, the financial pressure of holiday spending, or the sheer disinterest in celebrating holidays while the world is raving about them—all this is pure, plain stressful. So much that it can lead to anxiety, and we even have a term specifically for it—holiday anxiety.
If you’re having a hard time thinking of how you’ll get through the holiday season, know that you are not alone. In this blog, we’ll look at ways to cope with Holiday Anxiety and take care of yourself better during this time. Read on!
1. Keep Your Expectations Clear in Advance
It’s easy to get caught up in the Pinterest-perfect holiday fantasies, but let’s face it – life isn’t a movie. So we need to communicate openly with our loved ones about what we can and cannot do. Have you recently turned Vegan? Inform your mom in advance, especially before she buys ingredients for those delightful milk cakes you’ve always enjoyed. If you have a strict bedtime of 9 pm, convey this to your party-planning cousin so they can factor it into their arrangements. The sooner you communicate your preferences, the smoother it gets for others to understand your choices and organize things accordingly.
2. Do Not Succumb to Peer Pressure
Peer pressure isn’t just reserved for high school fancy dress competitions or office cafeterias; it has a sneaky way of infiltrating holiday gatherings too. Peer pressure can only make your holiday anxiety worse. Just because your neighbor is hosting an extravagant feast with live music doesn’t mean you have to one-up them. Remember, it’s not a competition; it’s a celebration. Politely decline the pressure to outshine and focus on creating memories rather than matching decorations.
3. Learn to Say No
“No” – a simple yet powerful word that can save you from countless chaos but we fail to utter it owing to the pressure of being nice. So does being nice solve the problems, then? Not necessarily. ‘NO’ is the shield that guards your sanity from unnecessary commitments that you aren’t really ready for. Feel free to use it liberally, whether it’s declining an invitation to an ugly sweater party, passing on the opportunity to bake three dozen cookies for the office potluck, or refusing to guzzle five glasses of wine when you are least in the mood. Trust me, your mental health will thank you.
4. Take Time for Yourself
Amid the holiday parties and socializing, it’s good to carve out a little oasis of calm just for yourself. It sounds like the contrary thing to do on holidays, but you need self-time more than you think you do. Whether it’s sipping on a cup of tea in a quiet corner, walking your dog, or indulging in a guilty pleasure novel, find a moment to recharge your batteries. Remember, you can’t spread holiday cheer if your own cup is empty.
5. Do Less
In the idea of perfecting holidays, we often find ourselves tangled in a web of never-ending to-do lists that often give rise to performance pressure. This will only add up to your holiday anxiety. If you want to truly enjoy the holidays with minimal stress, stop taking pride in the long-as-heck to-do lists and start ‘doing less.’ Prioritize your tasks, focus on what truly matters, and let the rest fade into the background.
The key is to remember that perfection is an illusion, and the real magic lies in embracing the imperfections that make our holidays uniquely ours. If all you want to do is curl up in a fuzzy warm blanket and indulge in two tubs of chocochip ice cream while watching a feel-good movie, just do it. That’s just perfect.