The holidays can be a stressful time for many people. From all the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping to family gatherings to day-to-day stressors that compound this already stressful season, it’s no surprise that anxiety during the holidays is common. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by holiday stress and anxiousness, here are some coping mechanisms that may help you manage your anxiety.

First, try to practice gratitude. It’s easy at this time of year to focus on all the things that are going wrong or causing stress and anxiety, but taking a few moments each day to reflect on all the good in your life can be incredibly beneficial for coping with anxiousness. Volunteering is a good way to jumpstart gratitude, such as with a food bank or soup kitchen.

Next, make a plan. Whether you’re tackling holiday shopping, attending family gatherings, or dealing with other stressors of the season, having the plan to manage it all can help reduce your anxiety. Figure out what needs to get done and when and break big tasks down into smaller ones. Do not schedule too many activities, so it’s best to keep a calendar and start planning as early as possible.

Try to not achieve perfection, especially by yourself. Many people get anxious when they try to achieve “the perfect Christmas,” especially when there are children involved. Ask for help. If help is offered, take the person up on their offer and put them to work. Plan ahead. Cut non-vital activities and expenditures out, to avoid headaches. Say “no thank you,” if warranted. Do NOT spread yourself too thin, trying to please others. Your health and sanity are important too!

Also, be sure to take breaks. Allowing yourself some “me time” to relax and recharge can help reduce your stress level. Taking walks, reading a book, watching a movie, listening to music, or doing anything else relaxing can help you to manage your anxiety during the holidays. Also give yourself an allotted amount of time JUST for worry. Give yourself 30 minutes one day a week for things to worry about. This can actually give you insight on how to solve things or cut them out completely.

Lastly, keep an open dialogue with family and friends. It’s important, to be honest about how you’re feeling and any anxieties you may be experiencing. Talking openly with those who care about you can help you to better manage your stress during the holidays. Minimize things that can trigger your anxiety. Mine is attending any events where people will be drinking en masse. I was married to an alcoholic and it tends to make me VERY anxious!

Having coping mechanisms in place can make all the difference when it comes to managing anxiety during the holidays. Remember to break up tasks, take breaks, and talk to loved ones. With a little bit of effort, you can have a stress-free holiday season!

Happy Holidays and Love and Light! <3