How to survive the holidays with anxiety.

The holidays are coming, and if you’re anything like me that means there is a lot of stress headed your direction. While holidays are touted as ‘splendid times’ for love and family and genuine feel good moments we’ll always remember, they can often come with a great deal of anxiety, judgment and arguments.

I’ve been worried about this. Mainly because I don’t want to come across as negative. But the truth is, for a lot of us, holidays aren’t a positive time. And I think that’s okay. You know, I’m not going to hide from that fact. I want to be open about it because I feel as though, when we try to hide those feelings, that’s when the holidays get harder.

I’ve teamed up with Stacy from Quirky, Confused and Curvy and we’re both sharing our top tips for making it through the holiday’s when you’re struggling with mental illness. For reference, I suffer from debilitating anxiety, so these tips come to you from the perspective of a very anxious soul. Without further ado, here goes:

  1. Holiday’s aren’t about you, they’re about your family. It might sound shitty, but it’s true. Don’t worry about your own happiness, make sure that your mom is happy, make sure that your siblings are happy, and make sure that grandma and grandpa and the neighbours and your friends are all happy. Whomever is coming over, show off your biggest smile and your heartiest laugh. If someone says something mean, change the subject. If someone says something racist, change the subject. You can call them out another day. Kill them with your kindness on this holiday and let them remember the good moments. Because, at the end of the day, as a human race we’re very quick to forget the bad and remember the good. If you focus on ensuring that your family has good memories of the holiday, if your family and friends have the good moments to look back on, then it was a successful holiday. And if you’re lucky, you can go back to your peace and quiet, free from the judgments the very next day.
  2. Remember that these days are only a handful of days per year. Something that I often struggle with is feeling like the holidays are never going to end. Truth be told, in the grand scheme of things, the holidays are just a few short days out of the entire year. The dinners, the mingling, the ugly sweaters, you can make it through, and you will. Though the odds may be forever in your family’s favour, you can and will get through this. Think of the upcoming holiday season like the big meals you’re about to eat. You get through them slowly, little by little, bite by bite. Make each Christmas party, gift exchange, festive activity a small bite for you to take out of the holiday season. Looking at these things through the view of a small, completely conquerable event, will make it easier for you to do. And if it’s something that’s hard for you to do – if you suffer from social anxiety like I do – or if you just struggle being around certain family members, taking the holidays in small bites will help your well-being vastly.

One extra piece of advice that I have is to control what you can, accept what you can’t and stop freaking out about your life. The calmer you can keep yourself, the better your holiday season will be. So remember your peaceful thoughts, your calming gestures and to note bite at an argument, no matter how enticing it might be.

Holidays aren’t always perfect. But I’ve learned that if you focus more on others than you do on yourself, it very much helps you get through without the debilitating anxiety that so frequently comes with.

P.S. I’m Canadian, and Thanksgiving has already passed here. I can attest that if you’re an anxious soul, sticking to these tips will help A LOT. Also, as a Canadian the extra ‘u’ in a few words are, in fact, meant to be there. 


This post was done in collaboration with Stacy Alderman from the blog Quirky, Confused and Curvy. Stacy is one of the first friends that I made on WordPress and she’s been with me since the beginning of my blogging journey. She’s brilliant, she’s authentic and she has a lot to give this world.

To view her tips, please click here >

Consider subscribing to her blog while you’re there!

46 thoughts on “How to survive the holidays with anxiety.

  1. Really great post! I’m not a fan of the holidays, mostly due to unnecessary drama from some folks in my family. But I’ve used this time to be more grateful on what I have. And right now, I’m feeling more grateful to be introverted and not going out as much 😂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Being an introvert can help, until you get thrown into the situation where there’s 50 million people around and internally there’s a volcano erupting. I find that happens to me a lot.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. At least in Canada, Thanksgiving is one less holiday we have to deal with right now. This year I’m not in the mood to buy gifts for Christmas. Last year I got stuck buying them all and it’s hard buying for people I barely know. It seems that the older I get, the less I enjoy the holidays.

    The malls are very overwhelming these days which makes my anxiety worse. I walked into a few stores yesterday and didn’t know what to look at or focus on. This year I’m going to make a ton of cookies and treats for family/family friends. Every year up until this point I’ve been too sick to bake.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. The holidays are always anxiety inducing times just due to their being so many different opinions floating around in one room. I wish you luck for an anxiety free holiday season! I hope you get it because I know how much easier it’ll make things ❤

      Like

  3. It does always help to remember the temporary nature of everything in life, and life itself. It has always helped me, especially during the unpleasant times. And, it helps me not be shocked when the good times end, too. I’m prepared: no expectations. That way, you always carry good vibes and they tend to stick even when specific happy happenings end.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oooh, that’s a good outlook. Think of everything in small bites and then you’re appreciative of the happiness when it happens and you’re reminding that this too shall pass if you’re in a bad stage. Thank you for sharing.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I love the actual holidays themselves, I just hate not being good at all the small talk required. When I feel overwhelmed by the amount of people I often will offer to take the recycling out or do something away from people so I can breathe for two seconds. Also I wear a certain perfume I love called Eucalyptus Spearmint and when I breathe it in, instant calm. I think these tips are excellent 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, I’m just like you. Even when I’m around family members, social anxiety kicks in and my ability to make small talk kicks out. That idea of a calming scent is actually a good tip. Scents are known to calm people down.

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  5. I somehow got bumped off your blog…ugh. But I’m back now. 🙂

    I am not a Christmas fan. But I have two kids, one in particular, who is all about Christmas and presents and parades and cookies and decorations and and and…so I indulge her. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Hard times always create #opportunities for you to #experience more true love in your life. Tough times never last, but tough people do.
    I would like to mention a famous quote by Les Brown here, which is as follows: “When the challenges of life come your way, you have to find ways to increase your sense of self-appreciation, because if you don’t, you get bombarded with negative stuff every day that beat you down and you will find yourself unconsciously engage in self-destructive behaviour. If you don’t program yourself life will program you.”
    So remember one thing, struggle and hard times are the most inspiring things in the world. 👍💪🙂✊

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you for sharing this. I don’t like this time of the year at all and stop celebrating Christmas in 2009. I don’t do Christmas presents and ask people not to give me gifts. I just can’t cope with the Christmas pressure and commitments. I despise the over consumption culture… Anyway I hope you have a nice time with your family without any anxiety! Just do what gives you joy.
    Margarida
    Daisy & Thyme

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can completely understand where you’re coming from. Also, gift giving is something I really struggle with. Christmas can be really hard for a lot of reasons.

      Last year Christmas was when my mom got her cancer diagnosis. It was a stressful time for being more than just the holiday season. This year, now that she’s healthy, I think it’ll be a much more appreciative christmas for everyone. And I’m hoping people will be kinder and argue less because of that.

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  8. Great post! My anxiety goes sky high when it’s the holidays! And you’re right, it’s because I’m trying to be happy for my family, NOT for me. I want to ruin it for everyone by my anxiety acting up, which makes me even MORE anxious! What a vicious circle. I tend to find that a good way to help my anxiety is to have a place to escape to if things get too crowded or crazy, just so I can collect myself and take a few deep breaths. Even if it’s just a few moments alone in the bathroom, it gives me some time to pull myself together. Thanks for the tips and the great blog post!

    Emily | https://www.thatweirdgirllife.com

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m absolutely like you in this sense. I like to disappear, even if it’s just into a spare bedroom, or if it’s not too cold, outside. What I have learned, and you’ve touched on it with this comment is that you have to take the small steps to help yourself. As much as a holiday isn’t about you, you need to be able to help yourself to get yourself through it.

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    1. There are definitely some good things that are easy to look past when you’re anxious. If you’re mindful and careful and you look for the good though, I do think it can help. You’re definitely right there!

      Like

  9. Whether it’s Christmas or any other day, life is to be experienced, even if it isn’t the experience you would choose to have. So simply be, go with it, and if your experience of Christmas this year is an anxious one, then make sure you’re fully invloved in that anxious experience.

    Like

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