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It is not a mystery that the holidays can cause anxiety, but knowing exactly why or what is causing it is something else entirely. While this changes for each person, this explains some of the more common reasons people tend to get more stressed or anxious during the holidays. Knowing more about why holidays cause anxiety can be a beginning to managing holiday anxiety better. And speaking of better, BetterHelp is there to help you with professional counseling.
Summary of What Causes Anxiety During the Holidays
First, let’s look at a summary of what might cause anxiety during the holidays. Many people stress over party planning, cooking meals, or even attending a party if you get confused about what to wear or have social anxiety. Other people get more anxious about the financial pressures of the holidays, shopping for gifts, and other pressures that come with the holidays. There are also other types of holiday stress, including dealing with crowds while shopping, traveling to see family, seeing certain people that cause anxiety, or even not knowing how to properly tip during this time of year.
The Financial Aspects
Naturally, one of the biggest anxieties with the holidays is what it is going to do to your bank account. There are a lot of different expenses to be aware of during the holidays, from buying gifts, to planning a party, paying for travel, or buying a new outfit and getting your hair done for a big holiday party. It can help if you start planning well before the holidays begin by putting aside a little bit of money from every paycheck so that by the time holiday shopping begins, you already have what you need in your savings account and don’t have to stress quite as much about it.
Having Too Much to Do
Another thing that causes holiday anxiety from simply not having the time to do everything. You might end up with invitations to 3 different parties on the same night. Or, you need to figure out how you are going to cook a big holiday meal for your family while also trying to run errands, keep your kids occupied, and help your neighbor with her party planning. In this respect, there comes a time when you are stretching yourself too thin and simply need to say no to some people. It isn’t ideal, but you can’t do everything all on your own. Trying to do all and be all for everyone else in your life sets you up for a breakdown caused by the anxiety you feel you will fail and disappoint others.
Planning ahead can help you cope with all you have on your holiday calendar. Decide what things are priorities and plan those first. If you can't make every party, explaining it to a friend early will help clear the air and help you move on. It might just help your friend realize they need to reschedule their party which could allow more friends to attend both parties. If you can't find time to cook all the food for the family gathering, do a pot luck with each family member contributing to the menu. Or, consider some dishes catered.
Dealing With Family and Parties
Family and attending events is another big thing that causes holiday anxiety. While one might enjoy visiting with family members. It's not always the case for everyone. Depending on different family histories, one might have to deal a number of things that create anxiety. Rather than have a good time, you're pulled back into a place where you don't feel emotionally safe anymore.
If there is someone that causes a lot of anxiety, consider skipping a party they will be at. This can be hard because other people you want to see might be there, but you need to take care of yourself first. And, if you decide to go to a family or friendly event, where others that trigger your anxiety are there also, stay present about your safety boundaries. Stay around those that make you feel comfortable. But, if you feel it's best you avoid the gathering completely don't feel guilty. You must put your wellbeing first.
Holiday anxiety is a real thing. And it's okay if you feel anxious about this time of year, be it the crowds, the endless to-do list, or seeing people that trigger your emotions. The worst thing you can do it ignore it and push it away. Instead, start a journal, talk with a trusted friend, or seek out professional help. Get the advice and help from a trustworthy and skilled professional can help. They help you overcome holiday anxiety and other things in your life holding you back from your full potential.