3 tips to relieve holiday anxiety

Let’s face it, the holidays are tough! No matter what you celebrate; Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or even the New Year, there can be a lot of pressure. Pressure to buy gifts, visit home or rush to other destinations to see friends or family. For some reason, the festive season brings with it a lot of expectations.

This pressure can lead to many of us experiencing feelings of anxiety, so it's extremely important to find ways to look after ourselves.

But how? Here are 3 tips that can help.

1. Do not stop maintaining healthy habits

As the season consumes so much of our time, time spent exercising at gyms or going for a walk can be forgotten about. Don’t! Try to fit in time to move your body, even for 10 minutes a day. And yes, while going to the gym and for a walk is important, you may also benefit from the following:

  • Deep breathing exercises, meditation and yoga. If this is too difficult, seek out a professional to guide you through these exercises.
  • Remember to get plenty of sleep.
  • Actively spend time away from your phone or social media. Checking in is important, but try not to take in too much information.

2. Remember to find time for yourself

The pressure to spend a lot of time with others can be important and is often necessary, but it can also feel overwhelming. It's OK to be by yourself for some time. And if you find spending time alone difficult, the following tips can help:

  • Look up! Notice how beautiful the sky can be at night while stargazing. This solitary activity and becoming more aware of your surroundings in nature can be a reminder of how important is to slow down and focus on yourself first.
  • Listen to music. Try listening to music that makes you feel relaxed. It doesn't need to be overly soothing or relaxing either, as long as it's your chosen music of choice. Having that element of control must not be overlooked, it can really help in relieving the pressure of others.
  • Read a book. Is there a book you wanted to read, but for whatever reason, haven't been able to? Now can be a good time.

3. Try not to overspend

This is much easier said than done. However, we can feel a lot of pressure to spend as much as possible, buying multiple gifts for many people. And while giving gifts can, for many of us, be an act of love, don’t forget about the alternatives:

  • Make gifts yourself. While you can buy gifts, making them can give a sense of accomplishment and an added appreciation for the gift being given.
  • Donate. The holidays are a time that many can feel they are forgotten, donating to charity can make them feel good and you as well. Donating will also remind us about limited spending and how important it is to cherish what we have.
  • Not having to give gifts all yourself. Starting a gift drive, or gift pool with friends or family can be a great idea. Exchanging gifts can make it feel as if a reward is given, while also received.

There are many more things you can do to relieve anxiety during this time of year, and honestly, you're not the only one feeling this way. We are worried about how much we give, how much we spend, and how to make time for other people.

Setting aside time for yourself, remembering to do what makes you feel good and if needed, limiting what you spend, are just some ways to take care of your mind and body during the festive season and beyond.

Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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London, Greater London, SW6 3PA

Written by Dr Joshua Bourne

London, Greater London, SW6 3PA

Joshua is a Counselling Psychologist registered with the BPS and HCPC. He has over 8 years of training and work experience offering evidence-based practice in the field of Psychology, both in therapeutic and business psychology contexts. He invites you to visit his profile for more information.

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