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If you don’t feel like your normal self during the holidays, don’t worry. It’s not just you. Holiday anxiety and stress is common for a lot of people, even the ones who look like they are having the time of their lives. Are things easier for them? Are they finding the perfect gifts? Are they able to spend time with their loved ones? Are they able to handle the financial debt that can accompany gift giving? Maybe not, but what sets them apart is that they have found ways to cope.

Here are some things you can do to make the holidays more bearable.

  1. Keep It Real – Sometimes the holidays occur after a very sad or traumatic event that you just can’t put aside. That’s okay! Forcing festiveness and positivity is not the way to go. If it isn’t there, it’s okay. Perfection is overrated and striving for it just causes more uneasiness.
  2. Don’t Overspend – The holidays aren’t supposed to be about buying the happiness and love of those around you. It’s about giving love, whether it comes wrapped in a box with a bow or on a plate of homemade cookies decorated with holiday colors. Some of the most meaningful gifts can come from thrift stores, dollar stores, and discount outlets. Use your imagination, not your credit card.
  3. Just Say No – When life gets overwhelming, just stop, take a deep breath, and step away. If there are too many gatherings, then skip some. Don’t overextend yourself to the point of exhaustion or frustration. You can put yourself and your needs first.
  4. Make Time to Stay Healthy – Taking that brisk walk, taking a nap, or going to the gym or yoga class are ways to take care of yourself and make your body and mind feel better.
  5. Plan – Hate last minute surprises? Most people do. Prepare in the weeks leading up to the holidays so that when the time comes, you’ll be able to enjoy the holiday with less stress. If your days are hectic, consider setting aside some computer time to shop online. Holiday deals aren’t only in stores, and they last more than one day.
  6. Take Control – Several people feel swept away during the holidays, carried away on the current of “do this, spend that, watch this,” because everyone else is doing it. Instead of planning your world around the holidays, plan the holidays around you. 
  7. Ask for Help – No matter how hard we try, sometimes we just can’t stop feeling sad. The restlessness, the sleeplessness, the achiness, and the general feelings of “blah” just won’t go away. There are people at counseling centers like A Caring Approach who can offer individual counseling to help guide you through the darkness and toward resolution of your feelings and better overall wellness. Individual therapy has been the answer for many people who suffer from depression and anxiety.

When the holidays are over, you may still have feelings of sadness or anxiety. It’s important to acknowledge when you are having a difficult time emotionally no matter what time of year it is. It’s always a good time to care for yourself and seek help when you need it.