Christmas can be a beautiful time of year, filled with love and great times with family. It can also be an incredibly stressful time of year! Coping with anxiety at Christmas can make it even harder, especially if you struggle with social anxiety or family trauma.
Luckily, there are some ways to make it a little easier on yourself.
We’ve all had those holiday seasons where we haven’t planned until the last minute, and have instead had absolute chaos. The key to avoiding that, is good planning!
I’m not saying you should have Christmas planned by February, but you shouldn’t leave it til mid December either!
Planning is especially essential if you have multiple families to visit, ie a broken family or a partners family as well. This is easy if everyone gets along, but considerably less easy if there are rifts.
The easiest way to plan the day, is to plan it around meals! That way you can visit someone for breakfast, someone for lunch and someone for dinner. This works particularly well for family you don’t necessarily get along the best with. Easy to redirect conversation into eating!
It’s also a good way to escape once you’ve finished your meal.
Limits are so important to coping with anxiety at Christmas. Emotional limits, time limits and financial limits are all important to maintaining your mental health over the holiday period.
Emotionally, you need to set limits so you don’t become drained by the demands of others. It’s ok to be picky with who you spend your time and energy on! It’s ok to not want to see certain people, or limit the time you spend with them.
Don’t let Christmas become a time of being forced to spend time in places or with people that damage your mental health.
Time limits are simply the physical extension of emotional limits. Christmas can be an exhausting time if you’re being asked to spend quality time with a million different people. Don’t be afraid to limit that time, or arrange to see them another time.
You don’t have to see everyone at Christmas. You also don’t have to let someone else dominate your entire day! Don’t be afraid to tell someone you need to get going and set a firm time limit.
The third limit that will help you cope with anxiety at Christmas is a financial limit. There’s always pressure to spend lots of money getting the best gifts, but that can be really stressful, especially if you don’t have lots of disposable income. (Check out this affordable gift guide for people with anxiety!)
Don’t be afraid to set expectations and money limits early on, you shouldn’t be going into debt for Christmas presents! Set a limit that you can comfortably afford and stick to it. If you’re on a tight budget, keep an eye out for good sales during the year, or even wait for Boxing Day sales!
Sticking to a budget and browsing sales through the year will make sure you’re prepared for Christmas without the stress.
I’ve said it before and I’ve said it again, Christmas is stressful. One of the most important ways of coping with anxiety at Christmas is making sure you have downtime, and are keeping up with self care.
Make time through the holiday season to simply relax and recharge. It is meant to be a good time of year after all! Whether that means being alone for a while, or just having a low-key catch up with people, make sure you’re looking after yourself.
I always have a bit of a crash after Christmas, and you might too. After all the fuss, stress, and excitement, I always feel like I could sleep for a week. Make sure you give you give yourself that time to rest and recuperate!
Coping with anxiety at Christmas wrap up
Above all, enjoy Christmas and protect yourself. Don’t get drawn into drama, and don’t be afraid to say not my problem! Spend your time, effort and energy on those you cherish, and remember your right to avoid people who create chaos or threaten your mental peace.
Don’t feel guilty about putting yourself first.
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