Handling Holiday anxiety - 7 tips

From street decorations, to presents under the tree, to spectacular festive meals, the pleasure we experience at Christmas is often due to the hard work of others who are the ‘event planners’ of the holiday season.

The creation of a fabulous Christmas event can be enormously stressful. And if you are already experiencing anxiety problems, this stress can turn the joy of the season into a nightmare. So, how can we still have a Christmas celebration without sending stress levels into the stratosphere? 

Here are my 7 essential tips for reducing holiday anxiety:

1.     Remember this a typically first world problem!

  • It can help to remember that it’s possible to have a wonderful time with very little other than the goodwill of those around you.


2.     Get started early

  • If you can spread out all your tasks over a longer period you will significantly reduce stress levels.
  • Cook what you can ahead of time and freeze.
  • Start buying presents as early as possible – don’t scoff at Aunty Alice who has all her Christmas shopping done by August!


3.     Make lists

  • One list probably won’t be enough!
  • Make one big picture list and break it up into more specific lists e.g.  presents, communications (cards/emails/facebook posts), food shopping, other shopping etc.


4.     Think ‘baby steps’

  • Once you have your lists sorted out, take it all one step at a time and cross items off bit by bit
  • You’ve worked out what you have to do and as long as you keep moving forward, one little step at a time, you will get there in the end
  • Don’t tire yourself out by trying to get too much done in one go.


5.     Enlist help

  • Many anxious people are perfectionists and, dare I say it, control freaks, but you don’t have to do everything on your own
  • This is a great family time of year and getting others to join in with the preparations actually helps bring people together
  • Things don’t have to be perfect to be enjoyable.


6.     Make a plan and then cut it back

  • Think of your ideal celebration and then cut it back by 50% - less guests, less food, less presents, less entertainment …
  • More relaxation and laid back time can make everyone feel more at ease.


7.     Take extra time out 

  • Be gentle with yourself, know this may be a stressful time and plan extra spaces for relaxation, early nights, extra health supplements, and doing all those things that help make you feel good.
  • If you find yourself rushing, breathe out and slow down!