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:
- 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.
- 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 >
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