The holidays can be an extremely stressful time of year for a multitude of reasons. Whether you’re dealing with demanding family members or the melancholy feeling of being alone, the holiday season is one of those weird times of year when you feel like you should be doing a million different things. But often, nothing quite seems right, and something is always missing.
The holiday season doesn’t need to make you feel like you’re losing your mind. Luckily, there are many things you can do to help ward off holiday anxiety and take care of your mental health. As a result, you’ll be able to spend more time enjoying this special time of the year and be less worried or stressed!
Spending the Holidays With Let’s Roam
The holiday season can be stressful, so why not bring some fun into the festivities? Let’s Roam offers a series of great scratch-off adventure books that are full of fun activities and wacky challenges you can do with couples, families, and friends. Using our books is a great way to ease holiday anxiety and focus on what is most important—spending time with your loved ones!
How to Deal with Holiday Anxiety
We’ve all probably seen the scene where Clark Griswold completely loses it in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. You know the one, where he finds out he didn’t get his Christmas bonus and freaks out? Does that look familiar? Or is it something you can easily see happening in your own house or with your own family?
We always see scenes like this in Christmas movies where someone is having a tough time holding it all together, but it all comes together in the end. By the end of the movie, everyone has remembered the true spirit of the holidays and knows that it’s more important to cherish the time you have with friends and family than to worry about all the nitty-gritty details.
We know how valuable time with our loved ones is. To help you make the holiday season as relaxing as possible, we’ve come up with this list of tips and tricks you can use this season. As you’ll see, most of these have an emphasis on self-care, and there is a very important reason for this. You can’t always have control over every situation. However, you can have control over yourself. Self-care is one of the best ways you can maintain your mental health and overall well-being. And it should be given just as high of a priority as buying Christmas presents or making the perfect eggnog.
With that in mind, let’s learn how to cope!
By the time we’re adults, most of us have at least some idea of what stresses us out. It could be anything from crowded, noisy spaces to being at high heights. Try to avoid your stressors if possible. If you can’t and the stressor is getting to you, try to disengage briefly from the situation. Yes, this could mean missing out on a few of the family events or other festivities of the season. But wouldn’t you rather do that than put yourself in a situation you aren’t comfortable in?
We understand this isn’t always easy, so it’s also important for you to have ways to neutralize your stressors. Do you hate being at big, noisy parties? Try to go early and leave early before the big crowds arrive. Do you want to avoid being caught in a room alone with your overly critical brother or sister? Try to surround yourself with other people. Most importantly, set boundaries both with yourself and other people. Think of it almost like having a game plan in your back pocket that you can pull out in case you start feeling overwhelmed.
Learn to identify anxiety symptoms.
You may already know what stressors you need to avoid to make it through this holiday season in one piece. However, do you know how to identify anxiety symptoms as well?
Anyone who has experienced anxiety knows it can be absolutely debilitating. The sense of unease, nausea, restlessness, and sweating create physical and mental barriers that make it hard to function at your normal level. This often creates more anxiety, and you end up caught in a horrible snowball effect. We know it’s tough, but try to keep an eye out for the telltale symptoms of anxiety and come up with some coping mechanisms that can help you make it through the worst of it.
Being able to identify anxiety symptoms and act on them quickly can mean the difference between having full-blown panic attacks and carrying on with a pleasant evening. You’ll buy yourself time to figure out how you want to navigate your way through social situations like family gatherings or even holiday shopping!
Don’t put a lot of pressure on yourself.
Always keep in mind that you are your own worst critic (no matter how it feels!) and no one really cares as much as you do whether or not things turn out perfect. So why put so much pressure on yourself during the holiday season (or ever, really!)?
We totally get that you want to make sure that everything goes smoothly. But in years to come, people won’t really remember how cute the Christmas cookies were or how clean your house was. Kids won’t remember all of the gifts they got. Instead, everyone will remember the time they got to spend with their loved ones. They’ll remember the mishaps that happened and laugh about them later. These are the things that people will remember.
So rather than getting stressed out and putting a ton of pressure on yourself because you set high expectations for the holiday season, just sit back and relax. You and everyone around you will feel much better in the long run
Be honest with yourself (and the others around you!)
When it comes to the holiday season, many of us try to put on a brave face and act like we aren’t worried about it. Meanwhile, our insides are tied up in knots, and we haven’t slept for days! Rather than trying to hide these feelings from the people around you, be honest with them. Let friends and family know you’re struggling to keep it together and need some help. If these people really care about you, they’ll help you get through everything.
Don’t rely on drugs or alcohol to get you through the holiday season.
Being surrounded by old friends and family seems like the perfect opportunity to throw back a few drinks and let your hair down. While this is perfectly okay, just make sure that you aren’t relying on alcohol (or drugs) to get you through the holidays. Rather than simply melting away your unease, substance abuse has a pretty strong chance of leaving you feeling worse off in the long run, especially if you tend to drink a little too much.
Staying sober through some of the more stressful parts of the festivities will allow you to keep a clearer head about what’s going on around you and help you make better decisions both in the short term and in the long term.
Stay away from social media.
It seems like everyone and their brother wants to post photos of their holiday get-togethers. These are often lovely to see, but if you’re spending the holidays alone, you may want to stay away from social media. Seeing photos of happy families and groups of friends can make you feel pretty lonely. Instead, try to keep yourself occupied with that book you’ve been meaning to read or binge-watch that show that’s been on your Netflix playlist for ages.
Plan some special activities.
Have you ever noticed that having lots of things planned out can sometimes help things feel a bit more under control? Having some special activities to do up your sleeve is a great way to make time pass more smoothly. This could be things like hosting home spa days with the girls, going for hikes, playing games, etc. These activities can help you stay focused on enjoying your time with the people around you rather than stressing out about little details.
You can spend a few fun hours doing a Let’s Roam Scavenger Hunt! During the hunt, you can compete against your nearest and dearest to score points for completing interesting trivia questions and fun challenges. We’ve created hundreds of hunts in different destinations around the world, so there’s sure to be one at a location near you!
Another great option is to take a page out of the Let’s Roam Scratch-Off Adventure Book. These books are full of fun activities and challenges you can do with couples, families, and friends. They offer a great way to reconnect with friends and family in a whole new way!
Sail through the post-holiday blues.
The period after Christmas and New Year’s can always feel a bit anticlimactic. The holiday season is over. There are no more parties, family get-togethers, or school events to look forward to, and it may feel like you only have a long-dreary January ahead of you. While it’s really common to feel a little bit down in the dumps after the holidays, try to find some unique ways to sail through the post-holiday blues.
You can plan a mid-January trip to a sunny destination, sign up to take a cooking or art class, or join a gym (and actually use your membership!). These new activities and hobbies will keep your mind and body busy in the new year and can easily be incorporated into your daily life.
Seek professional help.
If you feel like the holiday stress may be a little tough to tackle on your own, you may want to speak to a mental health professional. They can help you manage anxiety and other mental health disorders so that you can feel like the best possible version of yourself. Don’t be embarrassed or shy about talking to someone. Mental illness is just as important as any other health issue that negatively impacts your body, and mental health care should be a priority for everyone.
If speaking to someone one-on-one isn’t possible, at least try to listen to some podcasts focusing on general mental health issues or on specific conditions, such as seasonal affective disorder, social anxiety disorder, or post-traumatic stress disorder. These can help you analyze what’s going on in your mind and help you figure out a way to manage it.
Getting Ready for the Gift-Giving to Begin
We hope this guide to overcoming holiday anxiety has left you eager to attend that upcoming holiday party and open to enjoying spending time with your loved ones. If you want to read more useful articles on managing relationships and your own well-being, make sure to head over to the Let’s Roam Connect blog. Here, you’ll find hundreds of articles covering everything from fulfilling family vacations to essential camping safety tips.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you tend to feel a little anxious during the holiday season, it’s a good idea to plan ahead. Think about the things that tend to stress you out, and try to find ways to manage them.
Holidays tend to be more stressful than the rest of the year because of the high expectations we put on ourselves to make it perfect. Try to calm down, relax, and enjoy your company.
People have found a variety of ways to manage anxiety and stress over the holidays. Planning fun activities, scheduling time for self-care, and learning how to set boundaries are good starting points.