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8 Tips To Reduce Anxiety & Stress During the Holidays

8 Tips To Reduce Anxiety & Stress During the Holidays

8 Tips To Reduce Anxiety & Stress During the Holidays

The holidays are usually a time of year for peace, joy, and celebrating with loved ones, but for many it can be a source of added stress, anxiety, or depression. As we are still dealing with Covid-19, the holidays may look a little different. We’re still trying to figure out how to adapt and create new traditions while honoring the old ones. One top of this, visiting parents and family can be stressful, even when it isn’t a holiday! Here are some tips to help you feel a little less stressed during this holiday season.


1. Redefine Your Expectations

People often put a lot of pressure on the holidays. We tend to glorify it as the best time of the year, but it can also be the most stressful time of year. Even during the pandemic, there’s this expectation that we have to keep up with traditions, travel to see family, buy gifts for everyone, and throw or attend parties. But it’s important to be realistic about what is actually possible, how to stay safe, and what you can do to minimize your stress. After all, the holidays are about peace and joy, and that includes your own. This year doesn’t have to be picture perfect, so focus on what’s important to you and set realistic expectations.


2. Don’t Try to Please Everyone

You don’t have to sacrifice your physical and mental health to please others. You’ll never be able to please everyone or make everyone happy, so make yourself the priority instead. If it’s too stressful or uncomfortable to travel, visit family, or go to parties, you don’t have to! If people get mad or upset, it’s not your fault. You can’t control other people’s emotions, just like they can’t control yours. 


3. Set Boundaries

It’s important to know your limit and when “enough is enough.” If you feel overwhelmed by hosting or going to a party, don’t do it! Don’t feel pressured to do anything you don’t want to do. Reflect on what’s important to you, and then set boundaries that align with that. If you’re not ready to attend large gatherings or travel, you don’t have to. If you do decide to travel or go to holiday parties, you get to decide how much time you want to spend and who you spend time with. Set time limits and excuse yourself from any situation or conversation. If you really feel uncomfortable around your family, you have the right to just make an appearance and leave whenever you choose. Alternatively, you do not have to go to a family gathering at all. You are allowed to make plans that reduce stress and help, not hurt, your mental health. Whatever you decide to do or not do this holiday season, it’s your choice. 


4. Be Honest and Communicate Your Needs

Be open and honest with what you want your holiday season to be. It doesn’t have to be what other people want for you, especially if it adds stress to your life. If you are uncomfortable traveling or going to parties, communicate that with others so they know what to expect. It is acceptable to decline an invitation to attend a holiday gathering, just be honest with yourself and to your friends and family. Whatever your plans are, let your friends and family know how you feel, what you need, and how they can help. Just remember that you can’t control their reactions, so it’s important to be realistic with how they may react. Even if they get mad or upset, when you demonstrate open communication and prioritizing your own needs, it empowers others to do the same.


5. Be Flexible

It’s good to set boundaries, but adding in some flexibility will help you feel less stressed. Give yourself permission to go with the flow. If you planned to see someone or do something, and it doesn’t feel right in the moment or after you’ve made plans, you don’t have to go through with it. If possible, see those people another time when life is a little less hectic. Listen to what you need in the moment and use that as a guide. If your plan isn’t working, these limits and boundaries can change. They don’t have to be permanent. The whole point is to be less stressed!


6. Don’t Feel Guilty

Feel comfortable and don’t feel guilty with whatever decisions you make. Don’t force yourself to do something you’re not comfortable with. Feel comfortable with the limits or boundaries you’ve set. If it causes you to be sad or more stressed, don’t do it. If the boundaries you set for yourself are making you feel more stressed or sadder, you can change your limits and plans. We are all still dealing with the pandemic, and during the holidays we can feel extra stressed. Don’t add feelings of guilt on top of everything else. Remember to be kind and compassionate to yourself!


7. Make Time for Self-Care

One of the best ways to reduce stress and anxiety during the holidays is to take care of yourself. Carve out time for self-care, alone time, or time for whatever else you want to do that will help your overall well-being. If you start to feel overwhelmed, stressed, or anxious, take some time to relax. Meditate, exercise, take a bath, read, or do yoga. Just do something for yourself that helps you stay calm. Celebrate the holidays by celebrating yourself!


8. Go to Therapy

The holidays can be overwhelming even when there isn’t a pandemic. The added stress of it all can detract from what is good and negatively impact your relationships. Therapy can help you feel less stressed and more in control so you can enjoy the holiday season. If you are struggling with time management, need help making time for self care, or want to improve your relationships and communication skills, therapy can empower you and help you and find inner peace.


Online Therapy Can Help You Feel Less Stressed & Enjoy the Holidays

Teletherapy can help you feel empowered and a little less stressed so you can enjoy the holiday season. Dr. Heather Violante can help you improve your communication, assist you with setting and enforcing boundaries, teach you how to prioritize your well-being, and find joy. If you live in Florida or New York State, contact her online or call (754) 333-1484 to learn more about how online therapy is a great way to feel less stressed and anxious so you can have a peaceful holiday season.