There is a lot of pressure to feel joyful these days. People talk about the “most wonderful time of the year” on TV and social media. Your friends and family are showing their enthusiasm about Christmas time approaching. All stores and malls in your area are filled with Christmas songs, presents, and decorations. Yet, you are just not feeling it. You rather feel like the famous green-hued Grinch. Is there something wrong with you? Absolutely not!
Contrary to what we see on TV or social media, this time of the year is not always the most wonderful for everybody. And that is perfectly ok. For others, Christmas can be an exciting time. For others, it can be the most stressful time of the year.
Maybe you are anxious about all the family gatherings happening during this time of the year. Or, on the contrary, maybe you are feeling alone this Christmas because your friends and family aren’t in town for Christmas or have other plans. Or, maybe you are feeling stressed because you feel the pressure to make everything perfect, from buying the perfect gifts to decorating your home and Christmas tree, visiting all your relatives, picking out the most glamorous outfits, and the list goes on. For anxiety-prone people, all this can be a lot to take.
So, what’s there to be done when you don’t feel like Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year?
Addressing your mental state
Generally speaking, Christmas can be stressful for everybody because there is a lot going on in this period. However, while some people manage to see through all the stress and find this time of the year joyful, for others, it isn’t so easy to get rid of anxiety and other negative feelings.
If you’re not feeling Christmas enthusiasm like everybody around you seems to do, you are likely part of the second category of people. Don’t worry. There’s nothing wrong with you. The same event or set of life circumstances could send one individual into the depths of anxiety while leaving another individual unaffected.
Some people are more prone to anxiety than others. What’s more, your inner world, made of your emotions, thoughts, personality, desires, and fears, is completely different than others’ inner worlds. That’s why your approach to the same events can be different than others’ approaches and perceptions about it.
For this reason, a good way to tackle Christmas stress and anxiety is to take a look at what is going on inside your inner world and try to understand the roots of the negative emotions you are feeling. It’s important to become self-aware in order to know how to handle your negative emotions at this time of the year.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Why am I feeling the way I am feeling (anxious, sad, lonely, etc.)?
- What would make me feel better and not experience what I am feeling right now?
- What can I do to feel better?
- Who can I reach out for help?
- What am I grateful for?
It is all about self-exploration that will help you understand the emotional wounds that are making you feel the way you do right now and how you can turn things around.
Tips for coping with Christmas stress, loneliness, and anxiety
Whether you’re feeling stress, loneliness, or anxiety, we have a few tips to help you handle these negative emotions.
Ask friends and relatives to help.
If you are experiencing stress due to all the things you need to get ready for Christmas, know that you are not alone. You can ask your friends or family members to help you complete one or two tasks.
Plan and shop ahead.
Shopping for Christmas presents can be really stressful, especially when stores are hectic. Buy the gifts for your loved ones early ahead. If you are hosting the Christmas dinner, plan everything in time and don’t let important tasks on last minute.
If you’re alone this Christmas because you’ve turned down invitations from your loved ones, know that it is fine to call those people back and accept their invitation.
Even when surrounded by strangers, you can feel really close to other people if you’re all involved in doing good for others. If you have no one to spend this Christmas with, you can volunteer to meet other people while also doing some social good.
Join an “orphan Christmas party.”
You’re likely not the only one that is feeling alone this holiday season. If you know someone who will also spend Christmas on their own, give them a call and ask them to come over or meet somewhere to spend this time together.
If you are going to be alone this holiday season because your friends or relatives are out of town or you are abroad or in a different city, set up a Christmas party on Skype or Facebook and celebrate this time of the year online.
Meditation can help reduce anxiety, give you clarity on what is going on inside your inner world, and calm your overwhelming thoughts for a while.
If you are anxious about the agitation around Christmas gatherings, being alone and enjoying solitude isn’t a terrible plan. You can plan a day for yourself by doing the activities that you enjoy the most, be it watching a movie, painting, listening to music, you name it.
If you’re having difficulty coping
If you are feeling really down about Christmas time and you could use talking to someone about the negative emotions you are feeling, you can reach out to a friend, a family member, or a therapist. Your loved ones can listen to you and support you through this difficult time.
A therapist can help you with your social anxiety disorder or emotional wounds that prevent you from enjoying Christmas time. Seek therapy if you are experiencing symptoms like: