Proven tips for controlling Christmas anxiety
Let’s be honest… Christmas can be stressful. Between the increased number of social events, pressure to give the perfect gift, and general stress caused by public holiday’s even the best of us can become overwhelmed. To help keep the ‘joy’ in your holiday this season read the tips below, and share your best advice in the comments section.
We’ve divided stress triggers into three categories: social events, changes in routine and gift giving.
Control the stress of social events
Christmas parties are now in full swing. While some thrive with busy social calendars others do not. If you are one that thrives kudos to you! If however you find yourself identifying with the later remember:
- It’s ok to say no: While it is tempting to go to every party, it is also alright to put your needs first and excuse yourself if you are not up to it. As Dr. Seuss said, “Those that matter don’t mind, and those that mind don’t matter”. No event is worth sacrificing your mental health. Family and friends will understand if—just be honest with the host and yourself.
- Arrive late or leave early. FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) preventing you from saying no? Consider arriving late or leaving early. Touch base with the host to see if there is a key activity you want to be present for and target that, then skip the rest of the party as needed. As above give the host a heads-up so that they know when to expect you.
- Divide and conquer:have two events happening at once? Ask your significant other, friend, or family member to attend one event while you attend the other. Send those attending on your behalf with a card for the host to pass on your regards.
Control the stress of changes in routine
Time does funny things during the holidays and routine goes out the window. To control the stress, remember to take time to center yourself. Rest, meditate, go to the gym, or whatever it is that balances you. It’s important to take care of yourself during the most wonderful time of year—holidays should be joyful—and there is nothing wrong with prioritizing your own joy this season.
Control the stress of gift giving
To prevent needing a personal Go-Fund me this Christmas, consider:
- Games: games like Secret Santa and Yankee Swap take pressure off you (and everyone else in the group). Participants contribute one gift each—saving money—and everyone leaves feeling welcomed and cared for. Additionally games foster laughter and bonding bringing family, friends or co-workers together.
- Plan and budget: If you need individual gifts plan ahead and budget. Write all the names on your ‘nice’ list, then assign gift items with an estimated cost. Once compete stick to your list. Being disciplined will help you stay in control of your spending and prevent last minute impulse purchases.
- Be wary of ‘sales’: we all want a good deal, and many companies advertise Christmas specials to appeal to this. However not all “sales” are equal or sales at all. If you can: track prices, compare items at different stores, and research before purchasing to make sure that the price is fair. Educate yourself so you don’t become a fake-sale victim.
- Gift Experiences: instead of giving goods such as jewelry or electronics, consider giving experiences. Tickets to events, gift certificates for activities, or paying for a private or group lesson can cost less than premium items and be more meaningful to the person receiving it. You can also gift experiences for entire families and groups which really hits home for those that value quality time.
- Use Cash Equivalents: Use old gift cards and loyalty program points/coupons to purchase gifts. Using cash equivalents lets you spend without opening your wallet, which is a win for you, and the person you are buying for.