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Managing Anxiety Around the Holidays: 6 Tips for Inner Peace

surviving holiday stressIt’s that time of year! Our anxiety levels almost always rise around the holidays. You want to get everyone the perfect gifts, you want to plan the perfect holiday meals and events, you want to decorate your home, you love sending out holiday cards, you have several holiday parties to attend and prepare for and you want to see your loved ones feel the joy of the season. It is overwhelming even for the best of planners.  If you are looking to make sure that you manage this time of year with grace and less chaos, here are 6 tips to help you do just that.

  1. Take some “you” time: Whether you are managing a large holiday event or a small family dinner, don’t be afraid to take some time just for you.  Take an extra yoga class, meet a friend for coffee or lunch, go for a walk or hike, get a massage, meditate in your favorite place or just go to the movies by yourself.  Do something that is all about you and be mindful about how wonderful and healing it is.
  2. Make a list:  Much of our anxiety that comes during the holiday season results from just how much there is to do and how difficult it is to get everything done on time. Making lists and a plan of action ahead of time will help you feel more in control and less overwhelmed. It might be helpful to make an overall list of things to accomplish as well as daily lists of to-dos. Create those gift lists now to avoid the panic that comes with last minute shopping!
  3. Shop early and wisely: When it comes to holiday shopping, don’t leave it to the last minute. Try spreading out your shopping so that you can get it done a bit at a time. Do some (or all) of your shopping online. This eliminates the stress of traffic, lines and carrying packages. Grab a cup of tea, soft blanket and your laptop for an evening of stress-free shopping.
  4. Say “no”: If there are certain things about the holiday season that you don’t want to do, then just say “no”.  While there are certain things you might not be able to avoid, try to stay away from any major stressors that are going to have a negative impact on you and your wellness. There may be things we think we need to do that are not necessary. Do you really need to send out 100 holiday cards this year? Do you really need to attend every work party or activity at your child’s school or in the community? It’s important to think of quality moments rather than quantity. Where do you want to spend your energy the most?
  5. Be mindful: Being mindful is one of the best ways to curb your anxiety about the holidays. Stay present when you drive, eat, celebrate with friends, and even when you’re decorating your home.  Just be present for every part of the holiday season, and you’ll find it much more enjoyable without a doubt.  This also makes the holiday season much more memorable for yourself as well as your loved ones.
  6. Do what makes you happy: The holidays are for enjoying time with loved ones, so take the time to plan pleasant activities.  Have a quiet evening in watching your favorite holiday movies, go out for a drive with hot chocolate and enjoy the sights and sounds of the season, bake cookies with your little ones or enjoy a cup of coffee or tea with a close friend.  Do what makes you happy and create positive and relaxing experiences that will ultimately energize your mind, body and spirit.

The harsh reality is that none of these is going to omit holiday stress entirely, but these 6 tips will help reduce the anxiety of the season, create more mindful experiences and help you get everything you need to do accomplished without the chaos you might typically experience every year. By creating more inner peace you will be ready to tackle your holiday season with grace while creating the energy you need to thrive not just survive!

Managing Anxiety Around the Holidays: 6 Tips for Inner Peace

Julie K. Jones, Ph.D., LPC

Julie K. Jones, Ph.D., LPC is the owner and director of Well Life Therapy, LLC, a private group psychotherapy practice in Middletown, CT. She and her clinical team offer a wide range of services and specialties including perinatal/postpartum support, trauma recovery, couples and family counseling, and teen/young adult assistance. She is a founding member and board member of the Connecticut Chapter of Postpartum Support International.

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APA Reference
Jones, J. (2018). Managing Anxiety Around the Holidays: 6 Tips for Inner Peace. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 3, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 22 Nov 2017)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.