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The Best Methods Of Handling "Holiday Anxiety"

Updated: Mar 23, 2023

The bells may begin to ring, and joy may fill the air as the holiday season quickly approaches. But are you feeling those holiday cheers, or is the pressure slowly getting to you about how you will get through another stressful season?

Just as the holidays can be a time of great joy, it can also be nerve-wracking for people like you trying to make it through another season. Check out these alarming statistics that show that further:

  • A consumer survey conducted last year by Sesame, an American health marketplace, indicated that 70% of Americans experienced holiday anxiety.

  • In Canada, according to a Maru/Blue study conducted for the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), 52% of Canadians experience holiday anxiety.

For both nationalities, those numbers are expected to increase further due to specific changes in people’s lives due to economic factors.

Plus, the causes of this added anxiety can vary, but the statistics indicate this is becoming more of a problem as the years pass.

So, what should be the solution to fighting holiday anxiety once and for all? Today, we will dive into that while also touching on the most common reasons why this anxiety pops up in the first place.

Get Up & Active

Animated GIF of a black woman in a bathing suit putting on a swim cap

Getting your body acquainted with moving whenever you feel stressed is one of the easiest ways to fight holiday anxiety. However, it’s also a method that most people skip out on because of how they perceive it.

Most people associate getting “up and active” with exercise, which is partially true. However, if you don’t want to set up an exercise routine for yourself, other options can help you meet this standard.

If you desire to establish an exercise routine, the following exercises are great to add to your schedule and relieve some of that holiday stress:

  • Yoga

  • Pilates

  • Boxing

  • HIIT Workouts

However, alternative activities you can practice if exercising isn’t for you include:

  • Walking

  • Swimming

  • Cycling

  • Dancing

Spend Time In Nature

Animated GIF of a beautiful mountain scenery with a lake surrounded by pine trees in the foreground

There’s something about watching the clouds grace the blue sky and hearing the birds singing their tunes that brings a smile to your face. But there’s more healing power to being in nature than you may believe.

There’s a reason why most people feel their best when they’re in nature, and it’s not simply because of how beautiful nature can be; it’s also because the calming environment helps to take your mind away from whatever is stressing you.

Recent health studies have shown that just spending 120 minutes (or 2 hours) in nature a day can yield the following benefits to your well-being, especially during the holidays:

  • Reduce depression/anxiety symptoms.

  • Restores your mental stability and focus.

  • Improves your emotional well-being.

So, if you feel the pressure building up for you, try stepping outside for a little while and see how you feel afterward. You are more likely to walk into the holiday season with a clearer mind and feel better than ever.

Keep A Routine

Animated GIF panning over an agenda

Creating and establishing a solid routine for the holidays is one of the lesser-known ways of fighting holiday anxiety. Nonetheless, it’s still essential to maintain your mental health during these busy times.

Routines are simple to set but hard to maintain if you are not making them specific enough for your needs for the holidays. Before you set up yours this season, consider these points:

  1. What are my main focuses for the holiday season (i.e., spending time with family, getting holiday shopping out the way, starting new traditions, etc.)?

  2. What prevents me from sticking with my main focuses (i.e., distractive friends/family members, financial issues, etc.)?

  3. How much time am I willing to spend making my focus on the holidays a reality?

Set Boundaries

Animated GIF of a black mother acknowledging her daughter’s boundaries (subtitled)

Boundaries are considered one of the best methods of fighting off all anxieties, including holiday anxiety. The reason why is simple - with established borders, preventative measures are in place to avoid unwanted thoughts and actions to throw you off.

For instance, let’s say that one of your focuses for the holidays is to buy each of your family members a gift. However, you’re slightly anxious and discouraged because of negative talk about the holidays or how your financial situation is at this moment.

Boundaries that you can set to keep your focus strong and fulfill your mission include:

  • Blocking out negative talk from friends, family members, or social media.

  • Setting out budgets for the holidays to achieve your mission.

It’s crucial to remember that when setting boundaries, you must remember what your end goal is and why the boundaries are there in the first place. Then, your anxieties will clear away.

Limit Social Media Use

Animated GIF of blue and pink coloured hands holding phones displaying shop articles images getting likes on top

We often experience holiday anxiety after casually scrolling through our feeds. And in most cases, despite the obvious connection, we are unaware of what is occurring.

Each time you scroll and come across the “perfect” influencer preparing for the holidays in the “perfect” way, that idea of perfection soon creeps into you. Then, your focus turns to achieve similar results, if not the same, as that person.

Plus, social media can often depict false realities that trick our minds into believing that our situations, especially for the holidays, must always be perfect. Therefore, taking social media breaks during this season, even for just 30 minutes a day, can help you:

  • Improve your mood and focus.

  • Boost your overall mood.

  • Realign your focus on what matters.

  • Have less worrisome/anxious thoughts.

Conclusion: Don’t Let Anxiety Ruin Your Holiday Spirit

Now that we are approaching the major holiday seasons once again, you may begin to feel pressures all around to make it the best season. However, having these high expectations only makes you feel more anxious about the holidays, which should calm us.

Instead of letting the anxiety take over, it’s time to sit with yourself and begin to analyze where that anxiety is coming from. Once you identify the source, you can make the changes needed to get back to peace and calm.

Are you feeling the holiday anxiety creep up on you? In what areas and how will you use these tips and tactics to help you fight the mental roadblock?

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