7 Hacks to Cope With Holiday Anxiety This Year

Let’s make the most of this not so normal holiday season.

By: Emma Lunsford

How has this year gone by so slow yet so fast at the same time? 2020 brings all the feels! From loneliness, fatigue, lack of alone time, grief, and stress, we’re all trying to figure out how to get through the holidays, too. 

Christmas already brings enough stress as it is. And with social distancing in place, we’re all bracing for a disappointing season. 

But wait! It’s not all doom and gloom.

The best way to get through a hard time is to make the most of it, so here are our top tips for holiday stress: pandemic edition! 

Tips for Holiday Stress: 7 Ways to Combat That Holiday Season Anxiety

Anxiety around the holidays isn’t just all in your head. So many people experience it due to sinking budgets, extra family drama, and an overall longer to-do list. So what do you do? Stay in tune with you! 

#1 Acknowledge Your Feelings

The first step in dealing with any difficult emotions is to 1.) acknowledge your feelings, and 2.) give yourself permission to feel them. Sometimes we spend so much time trying to avoid our anxiety that it ends up increasing even more. 

But if you approach it with self-compassion, you’re more likely to be able to handle them better. You can try this journaling prompt to get the ball rolling: “Right now I feel…” Or, try an awareness meditation. 

TRY THIS: Mindful Awareness meditation with DeAndre. 

#2 Stick to a Go-To Healthy Habit

During the holidays — especially —, it’s so easy to loosen up on healthy habits. But they’ve actually never been more important! When you have a solid de-stress routine, like meditating, exercising, and resting, anxiety probably won’t spike so sky-high. 

Don’t feel like you need to do all the things, though! Instead, find one habit that makes the most difference in your anxiety, and stick to it as best as you can. Tips for holiday stress shouldn’t cause more stress!

RELATED: Genius Hacks For Staying on Track During The Holiday Season

#3 Be Budget-Conscious

Money worries are real during Christmas. There’s a lot of pressure to buy all the gifts, food, and decorations. However, if you map out a budget beforehand, you’ll have a better sense of what to spend.

Do the math and follow the numbers!   

#4 Focus on What You Can Control

This year has put a lot of things in perspective, to say the least. Things happen, and we have to be able to roll with the punches. 

So instead of focusing on everything that’s going wrong, bring your attention to what you can control: you! You can manage your thoughts and actions, which is a huge relief for anxiety. 

You’re always in control of you!

#5 Prioritize Your Needs

Ahhhh, but there’s no time!

Here’s the deal.

Prioritizing your needs doesn’t have to mean carving out four hours of self-care. It could be as simple as saying no when you need to or even skipping out on that extra peppermint martini. 

It’s all about what’s best for you. 

RELATED: Beat Holiday Stress With These 7 Quick Meditations 

#6 Prepare for Ups & Downs

We all know that stress and anxiety are exhausting. It places a lot of pressure on your nervous system, worrying so much.

So be prepared for energy fluctuations

Some days you might need to lay on the couch for 5 hours, whereas others you can shop till you drop. It’s totally normal!

#7 Talk It Out

When we’re down and out, most of us tend to keep to ourselves. Maybe we’re scared of being vulnerable or perceived as weak. But talking it out can make a world of difference for anxiety. 

Whether it’s with a professional or loving friend, share your feelings. Who knows, maybe they’re feeling the same way, and then you can swap more tips for holiday stress. 

How To Still Enjoy the Holidays, Pandemic-Style!

Yep, the “new normal” definitely isn’t as fun. But this doesn’t mean we still can’t enjoy the holidays! Here are a few ideas to bring a little Christmas joy to your home this year. 

Amp Up the Holiday Spirit

There’s nothing like good ole’ holiday excitement! Instead of canceling Christmas altogether, why not participate in some of those activities we all know and love?

Social Distance-Friendly Christmas Activities:

  • Put up Christmas decorations around your house.
  • Go on a Christmas lights tour around the neighborhood.
  • Have a Christmas cookie bake-off.
  • Read a holiday book/Watch a holiday movie.
  • Do a virtual secret Santa gift exchange.

Still Plan Those Get-Togethers

Yes, they might be virtual (depending on your circumstance), but it’s still important to plan out those holiday get-togethers with loved ones. Schedule it, so you have something to look forward to!

If it’s an in-person gathering, communicate ground rules ahead of time to help your anxiety. And if the weather’s not too frightful, make it a fun backyard holiday BBQ. 

You can also plan virtual game nights, cookie exchanges by mail, or even write Christmas letters to your favorite people.

Have fun with it!

Take the Pressure Off

Unfortunately, there’s no guidebook for how to handle a pandemic during the holidays — everyone is dealing with different situations. 

However, one of the best tips for holiday stress: Take the pressure off and release expectations.

Christmas might not go perfectly, but that’s okay! Remember to accept the feelings as they come. Some bad days here and there are completely normal. You got this!

Let the Holidays Be Easy This Year

Times are hard enough, right? Focus on taking it easy this year. Delegate tasks, ask for support and don’t be afraid to feel the hard stuff. 

You’re not alone!