How To Reduce Stress and Anxiety During The Holidays

How To Reduce Stress and Anxiety During The Holidays

If you're feeling stressed out by the approaching holidays, don't worry. You're not alone! People are more stressed during the holidays than at any other time of year, which is even truer for those suffering from anxiety. But don't despair: You can do many things to reduce your stress levels so that this season isn't ruined by anxiety or depression. There are whole lists of them! Here's one from Psychology Today:

Start with a mindset of gratitude.

  • Start with a mindset of gratitude.

  • Be grateful for what you have and the people in your life.

  • Be grateful for the things you can do, the things that are great about yourself, and all the wonderful experiences you’ve had.

  • You might be surprised how this simple shift in perspective can help reduce stress and anxiety during the holidays!

Learn to say no.

Don't feel guilty for saying no. If a friend asks you to hang out on Christmas Eve, let them know it won't work for you. Don't feel like you are letting people down by turning them down—they will understand and appreciate your honesty. And don't feel like a bad friend or employee because you're taking time off during the holidays: It's okay to be selfish, especially regarding your health and happiness!

Understand that the holidays are a stressful time for everyone.

The holidays are a stressful time for everyone. Whether you're going through the motions of gift buying, hosting family members in your home, or just trying to figure out what to do with your life after college, plenty of things can cause anxiety this time of year. The good news? You're not alone!

The first step in reducing your stress levels is understanding that everyone else around you is probably feeling pretty stressed too. Especially if you're an introvert or an extrovert who's hosting people over the holidays (and even if you're not), other people's stress levels might be high enough that they affect yours—but don't let them get the best of you! Remember: You have full control over how much energy and effort you put into making sure everything goes right—whether that means picking up extra shifts at work so that one person doesn't have to take on more than they can handle; asking someone else to watch over some aspect of your holiday plans, or simply refusing to worry about anything until it becomes a problem.

Simply knowing that everyone else is struggling too isn't always enough when we're talking about reducing our anxieties during this stressful time of year—but it helps immensely when combined with positive coping strategies like identifying what needs worrying about, then putting our efforts into those problems before turning attention toward others' issues (or simply ignoring them).

Permit yourself not to be perfect.

The holidays are a time to gather with family and friends, but it can also be stressful. You may feel like you have to make everything perfect, but this pressure is impossible to live up to. Perfectionism and stress go hand in hand. Feeling pressured, you must give yourself some freedom by not trying so hard.

There are many ways perfectionism can affect your mental health:

  • Perfectionists tend to have higher levels of anxiety than those who aren't perfectionists (Göritz et al., 2017). They also tend to experience more depression symptoms than non-perfectionists (Barrick et al., 1996). This makes sense because when we try too hard at something, we often become frustrated and discouraged if we don't succeed quickly enough or if other people don't support us as much as we'd like them to—two things that both contribute heavily toward anxiety disorders such as a social phobia or panic disorder.*

Go easy on yourself.

It can be hard to give yourself a break when you feel like you're constantly running in circles and putting others first. But the holidays are one of the few times in the year when we get to slow down, so let's not waste it.

Some tips for going easy on yourself this season:

  • Be kind to yourself. You don't have to be perfect, and it's okay if something doesn't go exactly as planned.

  • Don't beat yourself up if things aren't going well—it's only human! Beating ourselves up adds more stress and anxiety to an already stressful situation. Instead of beating yourself up, try forgiving yourself for being human and then moving on from there (it'll make everything easier).

  • Don't let others put pressure on you either—if someone comes along and criticizes one of your choices or makes fun of something you've tried your best at doing (even if they're right), don't take it personally! Remember that everyone has different preferences; no matter how hard we try, sometimes things won’t always work out exactly how we want them to…, but that doesn’t mean they were bad choices either! And remember: just because someone else doesn’t agree with what we want/need doesn’t mean they hate us or think less of us… It just means they might not understand why these things are important enough for us right now."

Ask others to help you out if you need it.

If you're feeling overwhelmed, ask your friends and family to help. There's no shame in asking others to do things for you. Sometimes we are too proud to admit that we need help, but the truth is the only way we can get through the holidays with peace of mind is if we ask others for help. If you know your sister loves baking cookies and making holiday treats, ask her if she would be willing to make some of them for this year's gift-giving. If your mom loves organizing Christmas decorations, have her take care of getting everything ready, so all it takes is a few hours one day before Christmas Eve or the morning on Christmas Day (depending on how much time off work each person has).

If cooking isn't your thing or doesn't appeal to you, then maybe someone else would like the task instead of being assigned it as an obligation or chore by another person who enjoys cooking but couldn't give gifts themselves due to health reasons or something else preventing them from doing so like being away from home during the holidays (like traveling abroad). You could offer to pay someone who would otherwise not receive any money from anyone else during these months because they lived alone just fine without any assistance whatsoever."

Remember that money is not the most important thing in life.

One of the most important things to remember when you're feeling stressed and anxious is that money is not the most important thing in life. Sure, it can improve your quality of life, but at the end of the day, many other things bring us happiness and fulfillment—things money cannot buy.

Money won't buy you happiness; it can't buy love, health, friendship, or family. Money isn't even something we can take with us when we die! As such, it's important to remember that money doesn't have any intrinsic value: It has no meaning on its own; rather, it's what we make of it which makes all the difference in our lives - both positively and negatively!



Do you realize how much stress and anxiety are caused by not breathing? That's right when we are stressed out or anxious; our bodies naturally go into "fight or flight mode," which means that our breathing gets very shallow and fast. This is not a good thing! If you take a few moments to breathe deeply and fully during a stressful time, your body will begin to relax and let go of the stress response it triggered.

Stress and anxiety don't have to be part of your holiday experience.

Stress and anxiety are normal. Stress and anxiety can be managed.

Stress and anxiety don’t have to be part of your holiday experience. They can be reduced or eliminated if you take the time to learn how to manage them effectively. For example: If you find yourself stressed out by something that happened in the past (or perhaps something that hasn’t even happened yet), use that as an opportunity to practice mindfulness techniques such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, or progressive muscle relaxation exercises with help from an app like Headspace or Calm (my personal favorite). You might also try journaling about what stresses you out so that you can better understand why it causes stress in the first place—this process is often referred to as “self-soothing” because it helps us look inward rather than outward for answers when we feel anxious or worried about something external like family drama during the holidays!


So, let’s recap:

You don’t need to spend much money to enjoy your holidays.

You don’t need to be perfect.

Your family and friends love you just as much when things get stressful.

You can take care of yourself and still take care of others.

The trick is in knowing what works for you—and finding that balance between caring for others and yourself so that everyone wins! And hey, if all else fails? At least there are plenty of cookies at the end of this long journey called life ;)

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