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  • by Eric Kelly

how to be more anxious & less happy during holiday season (or the same but in the reverse order)

Updated: Mar 15, 2020

How to Deal with Holiday Anxiety and Truly Be Merry This Season For some people, the “most wonderful time of the year” is anything but. In fact, it can be downright punishing to many. Keeping everyone from your mom and dad happy to the youngsters, coworkers, and friends, plus hitting all the events can leave you stretched thin in all regards. That holiday stress is all too real, and the anxiety can completely undermine any joy you aim for throughout the season.

However, it doesn’t have to be that way. There are several ways to alleviate—perhaps even avert entirely—the burdens of the season, leaving you to truly enjoy all the holidays have to offer.

Communicate boundaries

More often than not, holiday stress stems from the fear that limits will be crossed, which inevitably leads to drama. However, setting boundaries in your mind is never enough. To really conquer the anxiety this invariably brings, those boundaries need to be communicated, too. Make it a point to identify what will help you, and voice those limits. Perhaps there are sensitive subjects that you don’t want discussed at the holiday dinner table, especially in front of the kids. Or maybe you don’t want your work to spill over into family time during the holidays. Declare a hard stop on certain tasks, or give voice to your concerns, because the only way to successfully set boundaries is to make them known.

Curb spending

NBC News explains that stress-spending during the holidays is a real thing, and this causes anxiety in a lot of individuals. You may find yourself under pressure to buy gifts for an all-too-long list of people, which, by extension, puts undue pressure on your finances and imagination, leaving you anxious and stressed out.

It’s a vicious cycle, but remember that you’re under no obligation to give presents to everyone you know. It’s a good idea to narrow down your list to your nearest and dearest. Not only that, you should be very mindful of retail ploys that businesses use to capitalize on this holiday-related anxiety.

To stay on top of your spending, add a simple budgeting app to your phone. That way, you’ll have a tool and some reminders right at your fingertips.


Speaking of presents, few things are as thoughtful as one that you’ve put time and effort into, as opposed to simply picking it up from a store. In the same vein, the very act of creating something such as art can be a very powerful way to relieve anxiety. You can actually hit several birds with one stone by crafting holiday presents. You can even get your kids to act as your own little helpers to encourage their creativity. Bonus points for the money you save in the process!

Continue good habits

Contrary to popular belief, overindulgence is not compulsory during the holidays. Unfortunately, stress and merrymaking can be an unhealthy combination, which is why it’s common for people to end up breaking healthy habits during the holidays and even gaining weight soon after. It’s tempting to hit all the holiday foods when you and the kids are out shopping, but it’s easier on your budget and your waistline if you’re careful.

Of course, there are no rules against partaking in comfort food or imbibing a drink or two. You can even pack some healthy snacks for when you’re out and about, like protein bars or fruit snacks. Keeping tummies happy will help everyone stay merry and bright!

Stay connected

And finally, just like in everything else in life, you will get through the holidays when your support system has your back. Whether you have the likelihood of stressful family time looming over your head, or the holidays are just getting you down in general, ensure that you stay constantly connected so you can easily contact your besties when you need them most. So consider an unlimited plan that covers data, calls, and texts to avoid surprising and even more stressful overage charges on your next bill.

It’s true that the holidays can make you anxious, but it doesn’t have to be torturous. So keep these tips in mind for you to better enjoy the holidays—or at the very least, get through it emotionally unscathed.

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