Holiday Presents, Lists, Schedules.
The holiday season is here. You can’t hide from the lists and checklists to prepare. Websites and newspapers offering their top recipe lists, the top 2020 gift lists, List for teacher gifts, coworker gift list, family and friends gifts list. Lists are everywhere and they create a sense of urgency of it all must be bought and wrapped NOW. It is time-sensitive anyway, so you might as well start planning. Trying to figure out how to afford the holiday season and manage social distancing when the highlight of the holidays is to be spent with friends and family creates stress, fatigue, and sadness in some people.
For those with difficulties setting boundaries, deciding how and with whom they will spend the holidays can add to the stress and anxiety because the last thing they want is to offend anyone. The anxiety shows up when you’re playing out all of the worst-case scenarios in your mind while scrolling through Amazon’s gift guide. Then, you say to yourself, “But I am supposed to feel happy right now, it’s the holidays!” then another wave of anxiety hits because you wonder, “Is there something wrong with me that I am not sooo happy?”
No. There’s nothing wrong with you. The holiday season is intense and intensely materialistic and competitive. It’s all the smiles, togetherness, and happiness that many people haven’t really felt all that much this year. The lack of routine on top of the extensive demands can send many people into super prepper anxious mode to keep it all together. These are major triggers for people coping with anxiety, perfectionism, and people-pleasing.
So, now what? Take back the control from the hoopla. Take a moment and breathe. Take a minute to connect to what is important to you and why. It’s the end of a helluva year, time to reflect on how you want to live your life and share it with others. Get rest in the midst of the season. Keep revising your expectations- are they realistic? Keep working on your boundaries, did you really need to say yes to that? Instead of running away from the thoughts and feelings that seem off-putting from all of the jolliness, see it for what it is. Accept where you are right now, and then do something with it. And if you don’t know where or how to start, reach out for help.