Winter has arrived along with the holiday season. While many people have happy holidays, countless others face discomfort and distress. These feelings are more common than many realize, stemming from the overwhelming demands of the season like entertaining more family and friends than normal or being unable to celebrate with others and spending the holidays alone; sitting in traffic; entering the crush of the crowds out shopping; rushing to purchase gifts and overspending; being concerned about viruses and other health impacts, and so many other things. It is possible, however, to minimize and manage the feelings of anxiety and stress that so often accompany the holidays. Read on to learn more.


If you are prone to worry and woe during the holiday season, fret not! You can reduce the amount of stress you experience and the negative impact it has on you. The first step to take towards managing anxiety and stress during the holidays is to examine your priorities. Prioritizing the events and activities that are most important to you and saying no to those that leave you feeling tense, moody, or just plain exhausted can keep you from being overwhelmed at the outset of the season.


Another key thing to do is scale down your level of participation in all the undertakings of the season. Participating in holiday activities like baking, sending holiday cards, and attending community events is fun, but can also be exhausting on a large scale because you spread yourself too thin. Limit the scope of your activities–do less. Participation on a smaller scale allows you to experience the joy an activity offers rather than being overwhelmed by it.


It is also good to remember that having some level of social interaction is important during the holidays. Find time to visit with friends and family–schedule it, even if it is via video chat, so as to avoid loneliness and feelings of isolation. If you are unable to gather with people you know, look for other ways to connect with people, such as volunteering in the community. If you are more introverted and tend to be uncomfortable when around a lot of people or when you’re with people for long periods, that’s ok; don’t feel obligated to spend time in large groups or for extended periods. Scheduling your time and not being afraid to prioritize your personal wellbeing will help you achieve the amount of social interaction that is right for you.

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