The holidays can be a very exciting and happy time, but for some people the holidays can trigger feelings of anxiety, stress, and depression. As we near the end of the year and the start of the holiday season it is important to be prepared in order to be able to overcome anxiety so you are able to focus on enjoying the holidays instead.
To help you get started we have prepared a few tips to help you overcome the upcoming holiday season anxiety.
First it is important to understand what may cause this feeling of anxiety. The most common triggers for anxiety include unrealistic expectations, financial pressures, and excessive commitments, this is especially true during the holiday season. A good idea is to look into the past and identify situations and patterns that have led you to feel anxious before, this will be a great way of preparing yourself for this year’s festivities.
Once you have identified your anxiety triggers, you can plan ahead in order to avoid them this year. So, for example if you find out that you are worried about spending too much money on gifts, you can prepare a budget and a list of the people you want to give gifts to. This way there won’t be any surprises or reason to overspend.
If on the other hand you find that your anxiety stems from having excessive commitments, a great solution is to also make a list of all of the events and activities you will possibly be invited too and select only those that you are comfortable attending. This way you will avoid committing to activities you don’t want to be a part of. Be aware that having to say no to events may also be an anxiety trigger for some people, especially if they feel like they have an obligation to attend.
Then there is the most common anxiety trigger: having unrealistic expectations. This is not only true during the holidays, but it definitely gets more intense during this special season. Expectations in general will inevitably lead you to anxiety because life rarely follows whatever plan you might have.
Overcoming this type of anxiety can be quite a challenge because it requires that you completely change your mindset from one that expects things a certain way, to one that accepts everything as it is.
The best way to achieve this state of mind is to observe your own thoughts and whenever you detect any anxiety inducing expectations arising, your goal should be to gently guide and consciously correct your mind into a more accepting state. As with any skill, this one requires a lot of practice and patience, so make sure to start small and work your way up to the biggest issues.
Another reason why you feel anxious around the holidays may be due to seasonal affective disorder (SAD), also known as seasonal depression. This disorder can affect anyone, and it seems to be caused by inadequate exposure to natural light during the winter months.
The farther you live from the equator, the more common this disorder seems to be. This can be easily counterbalanced with maintaining a healthy diet, going outside, keeping your healthy sleeping schedule, as well as exercising regularly.