Meeting a cringy relative on holiday is every teenager's nightmare and these nights haunt us even when we reach our 20s or 30s. The thought that we have to meet a lot of people we don’t feel safe or comfortable with makes us anxious and all we do is sleep to avoid or cope with this anxiety. That’s how our most awaited holidays turn out like an unwanted situation in our life.
The reason people feel anxious about the holidays is that they feel the need to portray themselves as being perfect in front of their family, friends, or other relatives. They want to decorate the house perfectly, the party menu needs to be in place, the food needs to be finger-licking, and many more things to be taken care of. Even if everything is perfect, there are always haunting thoughts after the party of what the guest will say about them, if something was left behind and they will now become a subject to gossip.
What these people and most of us feel is known as Holiday Anxiety. Yes, it is a term.
What is holiday anxiety?
Stress and depression are frequent unwelcome guests during the holiday season. And it makes sense. Cooking meals, shopping, baking, cleaning, and hosting parties are just a few of the many responsibilities associated with the holidays.
However, you can lessen the stress of the holidays with a few helpful hints. You might even find that you enjoy the holidays more than you anticipated.
Tips to overcome and manage holiday anxiety
1. Be mindful of what you are feeling: Realise that you are not alone in experiencing feelings of sadness and grief. It's okay to cry or talk about your feelings for a while. Just because it's the holiday season, it doesn't mean you should be happy.
2. Keep it simple: It is not a contest to see how extravagant a gift you can buy or a meal you can make. Reduce the number of details you need to worry about. Instead of preparing a complete meal, plan a potluck (don’t worry it will be a fun idea, and they won’t judge you). Purchase gift cards for each person on your holiday list. Become familiar with the possibility that you don't need to do everything. The holidays need not be perfect or the same as last year. Traditions and rituals frequently transform as families expand and change. Pick a few to keep, but be open to making new ones. For instance, if your adult children or other relatives are unable to come home, come up with alternative means of celebrating together, such as sending pictures, videos, or emails or arranging a video call to meet virtually. You can still celebrate, even if your holiday plans look different this year.
3. Schedule time for yourself to unwind throughout the day: You can get the energy you need to deal with everything that comes your way in just 15 minutes. Yoga and meditation, two forms of relaxation, can often be very helpful. Alternatively, you can find a quiet spot and light a scented candle while sipping chamomile tea. You can even journal or read a book during your downtime. It's up to you, just pick something that helps you unwind your body and mind. Don't let the holidays turn into a wild party. Adjust the amount of time you spend reading news and surfing social media as the excess information culture can cause excessive stress too.
4. Be prepared: Schedule specific days to go grocery shopping, bake, hang out with friends, and do other things. Consider whether you can buy any of your items online. Make a shopping list after planning your menus so that you do not have to rush to buy forgotten ingredients at the last minute. Additionally, arrange assistance with meal preparation and cleanup.
Make a list of your worries as they arise throughout the day and then deal with them at a specific time. Write down any reasonable solutions you come up with. Also remember to take a stand for yourself, Say no to things you don’t want to do like meeting some people or inviting some guests you don’t feel connected to.
5. Reach out: Find social, religious, or other community events if you are feeling lonely or isolated. They can provide companionship and support. Talking about your concerns with a friend or family member may also be helpful if you are experiencing stress during the holidays. It's a great way to lift your spirits and make new friends by volunteering your time or helping others. Consider, for instance, dropping off a meal and dessert at the house of a friend during the holidays.
Always remember holidays are about taking a breather from an always-running life, embracing the people who love us, and embracing and bringing new changes in our lives. It’s not a competition to prove yourself worthy.