10 Tips for Managing Anxiety During the Holiday Season

If you follow these 10 tips for reducing anxiety during the holiday season, you can feel better, have a brighter mood, and have more fun, too!

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With the holiday season rolling around, you may be struggling a bit with the holiday blues. Maybe you are feeling anxious about finding the perfect gifts for all your loved ones. You might be feeling anxious about the very first holiday party you are supposed to throw at your house this year. Maybe you are feeling anxious about this being the first holiday that your loved one won’t be at because they passed away this year.

If you follow these 10 tips for reducing anxiety during the holiday season, you can feel better, have a brighter mood, and have more fun, too!

1. Stick to a Routine

One of the best ways you can handle anxiety during the holiday season is by sticking to a routine.

Create a routine for the holidays that works for you. The more chaotic your holidays are, the more you are going to struggle with anxiety. That is just a fact. If you can take the time to plan for your holiday weeks and months ahead of time, you can create a schedule or routine that works for you. Maybe you want to take a couple days off from work before you start the holiday parties. This will give you some time to unwind before the hustle and bustle of the holidays.

2. Get Good Sleep

Great sleep equals great holidays.

One of the best ways to reduce anxiety during the holiday season is by getting good sleep. With all the running around during the holidays, you can become exhausted very quickly, especially if you have a lot of holiday parties and events to attend. By making sure you are in bed at a decent hour every night and get an extra hour than your normal amount of sleep, you should be well-refreshed in the morning.

3. Have Alone Time

Alone time, without isolation, can refresh your body, mind, and spirit.

When the holidays come up, you will likely be spending a lot of time with your family, friends, neighbors, and possibly even the people at your work. There will be parties, events, and holiday get-togethers. It can seem like you are spending all your time with other people and never getting a moment alone. If this is the case, you need to make sure you have alone time. Even if it is just for half-an-hour each day during the holiday weeks, that can help you to feel less anxious.

4. Avoid Getting Drunk

Don’t get drunk; have some great, sober fun around the holidays.

It can be tempting to hang out and party with your family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers around the holidays. You want to let loose, especially if you are on vacation from work for a few days or even longer. However, one of the things that puts most people on edge and actually increases anxiety is drinking. If you have just one or two drinks that may not be a big deal, even though in some people, that is enough to set them into a frenzy. Just avoid getting drunk. Getting drunk is a sure way to put yourself into panic mode and get all worked up, especially if you already have a dual diagnosis disorder, you will be regretting the choice to drink later.

5. Stick with an Exercise Plan

Exercising can reduce your anxiety, improve your mood, and help you feel better.

When the holidays start rolling in, you will probably be eating a lot more, and being more sedentary. While it will seem like you are always on the go, you really aren’t moving around quite as much as you might think. If you want to keep your anxiety at bay during the holiday season, you should stick with an exercise plan. Whether it is just walking 30 minutes a day or doing crunches and planks every day, stick with it and you can reduce anxiety significantly.

6. Create To-Do Lists

To-do lists are an excellent way to reduce anxiety and get things done without hassle.

Around the holidays, there is always so much to do. You need to put up decorations, plan parties, attend parties and events, see your family, buy gifts, and so much more. If you have to work around the holidays, that can make your holiday season even more anxiety-producing. One of the best ways to handle that anxiety is by creating to-do lists. If you write down small steps of things you need to get done, you can accomplish them much faster and be more successful.

7. Simplify Everything

Simplicity is the key to happy holidays.

If you struggle with anxiety around the holiday season, one of the things you need to start doing is to simplify everything. It may be easier said than done, but it does help. If you need to plan a holiday party, don’t go overboard. You can buy simple decorations and even order catering for the party, instead of cooking. If you have to buy gifts for 20 people, you could have someone help you do the shopping or plan out when you will buy the gifts, so you aren’t waiting until the last minute.

8. Set Goals

Goal setting can make your holidays much brighter and much more fun.

With all that you have to accomplish during the holiday season, setting goals can help you more than you know. You can set goals for the gift buying — who you will buy for and on what days. You can set goals for the party planning — what day will you shop, set-up, get the food, and invite the guests. Setting goals can make things much easier to accomplish and make you feel better as well.

9. Create a Budget

A strict budget reduces stress, anxiety, and regret around the holiday season.

Do you get anxious around the holidays because you are on a tight budget? You can reduce the anxiety by creating and sticking to a strict budget. You can set the amount you want to spend on gifts, food, and party planning. If you develop the budget ahead of time, you are less likely to overspend.

10. Find Ways to Relax

Relaxation is the key to a more peaceful holiday season.

Relieving anxiety around the holiday season isn’t always easy. However, if you make sure to find ways to relax, at least for a little bit every day, you will find yourself to be much more peaceful and at ease. You could take a hot bath, write in a journal, vent to a friend, read a book, or sit in front of the fireplace.

Anxiety can destroy your holidays (if you let it), or you can learn to control it better. The choice is yours. Let’s have great holidays filled with joyous memories.

Article Photo by Kira auf der Heide on Unsplash

Adam Durnham is a freelance blogger from Detroit, Michigan. As a former alcoholic, Adam dedicates his life to writing and educating others about mental health, addiction, and recovery. You can find some of Adam's work on the Sunshine Behavioral Health blog as well as several other mental health sites.

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