Holiday stress. What does it come down to really? When you have anxiety, you worry about everything. For many people, those worries increase when they feel like something is expected of them in social situations. A lot of us might have ideas about what is expected out of us during the holidays…
- I’m supposed to be happy
- I’m supposed to be doing things with friends
- I’m supposed to be having fun
- I’m supposed to be giving gifts to people
- People expect me to show up to social things
- People expect me to get them a gift they like
Wow and then when you have anxiety it doesn’t stop there. There are worries about the worries even. Let’s take one above.
- People expect me to show up to social things.
- What will I wear?
- Should I be a little late or show up on time?
- Am I supposed to bring a gift?
- Was I supposed to help out and I forgot?
- Who will be there?
- Will I run into someone who makes me nervous?
- How will I act?
- Will people think I look/act ridiculous?
Don’t forget though. Just because anxiety goes up during holidays – there are other activities many people do during holidays which can help relieve stress! Like enjoying a hot cup of cocoa, sitting by a fire, playing with pets, building a snow man, throwing snowballs, acting like a kid, holiday music, holiday movies, vacation, decorations.
Being mindful and enjoying the moment without jumping ahead to expectations and “supposed to” can help.
Another thing that can help is giving to those who really have no expectations that they will receive anything!
Volunteering and giving to others can help with stress and anxiety. These opportunities abound over the holidays. If you feel lonely during the holidays, try visiting a nursing home or senior center. Can you imagine getting older and having trouble taking care of yourself? many of your friends and family dying before you? or not having family who visits you? Here is a cool project from dosomething.org about swapping stories with a senior.
And if all else fails, I am always cheered up by the Chipmunks on Christmas (or maybe you can be cheered up by annoying someone by blasting it)!
Do you have any other ideas about how to beat holiday stress?