For some, the holidays are a time of year for joy and celebration. But for others, it can bring on unnecessary stress and anxiety. Here are some tips to help you survive the holiday season and find inner peace.
Redefine Your Expectations
People often hype the holidays as the best time of the year, but this can be the most stressful time of year. There’s this expectation that you have to always keep up with traditions, travel to see family, buy gifts for everyone, and host parties or cook for everyone. I know it can be scary to be the person who breaks the tradition, but it’s OK to put your needs first and make new traditions. If you are comfortable being open and honest with your family, let them know what you need and how you feel. But be realistic and prepared for how they may react. You can’t control their emotions or actions, so be honest and upfront, and do what’s best for you.
Trying to juggle everything and seeing everyone can be stressful. Give yourself permission to not have a strict schedule and go with the flow. Plan family trips or parties during the rest of the year so not all of the pressure is placed on a couple of months. Not all holidays have to be celebrated on that day, either. Postpone the visit by a few weeks – the most important thing is that you are making time for your loved ones – even if it’s not exactly during the holiday season.
It’s important to know your limit and when “enough is enough.” If you feel overwhelmed by the idea of hosting a party, don’t host a party! If you can’t afford to buy everyone presents, be honest about it. Tell your friends or family members, “buying presents is out of my budget this year,” or “I can’t afford it right now.” Do what’s right for you and don’t feel pressured into doing something that sacrifices your finances. Before you return home or go to any parties, decide how much time you are going to spend with your family. You are allowed to set time limits and only spend as much time with them as you want.
Lose the Guilt for Saying No
Don’t self-sacrifice to please others. It’s important to put yourself first and to not worry about pleasing everyone (or anyone!). You don’t have to attend every event, party, or family trip. Give yourself permission to say no, even if you don’t have other plans and feel like relaxing at home instead. “Me time” is allowed! If you have a partner or children, don’t sacrifice the needs of your immediate family for extended family. You are allowed to have intimate holiday gatherings with only your immediate family in attendance. If people get mad, it’s not your fault. You can’t control other people’s emotions, just like they can’t control yours.
Make Time for Self-Care
One of the best ways to avoid the stress and anxiety of the holidays is to take care of yourself. Be in tune with what your body and mind are telling you. If you start to feel stressed or anxious, take some time to relax. You can go to therapy, meditate, do yoga, exercise, read, or whatever helps keep you stay calm and focused. Celebrate the holidays by celebrating yourself!
Go to Therapy for Stress and Anxiety
If you find this overwhelming, if you’re scared to say no to your family, or if you need help making time for self care, therapy can help you feel empowered and be at peace so you can enjoy the season. Therapy can be beneficial for everyone, even if you don’t have a diagnosable mental illness. It gives you the tools to cope with stress, anxiety, depression, and the challenges of everyday life. Dr. Heather Violante provides traditional psychotherapy and therapeutic yoga for emotional healing in Fort Lauderdale to adults who are seeking to reconnect with their inner peace and serenity.