The holidays can be hard for women suffering with anxiety or depression. I used to really enjoy the hustle and bustle of the holidays….and then I had my daughter. And now, it’s this constant push and pull and meeting everyone’s needs, all while trying to keep my sanity and my family as unstressed as possible. It’s almost like the more I stress about not being stressed, the more stressed out about stress that I get. Take that Dr. Seuss!
So how do I handle holiday anxiety now? It’s two fold, I have to be proactive in my approach, and I also have to make sure that before going into any holiday that my husband and I are on the same page.
So here are the things I do to minimize my anxiety around Holidays.
- RSVP to one thing per day. I emotionally can’t handle the jumping around to multiple parties or people’s homes in one day. So we pick 1 thing, and yes that means we miss out and yes that means we irritate people. But for my emotional well being and for us to best stick to a schedule for our daughter to where SHE is going to be in a good mood, we pick 1 thing to do.
- Leave before the meltdown. We all know that kids have a breaking point. We all know they can be overstimulated. So we make sure to arrive early and leave well before bedtime (with the exception of 4th of July), so that we can minimize meltdowns and keep everyone happy. Nothing makes my anxiety sore than my toddler screaming and crying in a crowded room.
- Plan for Pre and Post Holiday detox. This is my bread and butter. I clear my schedule several days before a big holiday and several days after to allow myself time to function again. No meetings, no play dates, no socials. I just allow myself to detox from all the people, food, schedule shifts and function like a normal human being.
- Don’t worry about being late. Whatever time you get somewhere is fine. It won’t matter if you were right on time or an hour late. And chances are, any sort of festivities won’t actually start until an hour or so into the event. So let any concept of time go out the window and just be okay with being there whenever you’re able to.
- Have a bail out buddy. This one may seem kind of elementary, but communicate to your husband, a friend, a loved one that if you start to feel overwhelmed you need them to run some interference so you can make an exit. Have them help you pack up, wrangle the kids, and sneak out before things get too bad. It helps to have a buddy so you’re not doing this alone while managing a potential anxiety attack.
It’s important to take things slow and in stride. It’s OKAY if you are not feeling social or up to much during the holidays, give yourself some grace and don’t sacrifice your mental sanity for meeting others expectations of you. Your family will live if you don’t make it to every event or see everyone. Your mental health should be the priority.