The holidays can be a difficult time of year. Whether it’s depression, family drama, anxiety, or the fear of missing out, the holiday blues can be difficult to beat. Listed below are five constructive ways to help make the holidays happier — or at least more bearable.

1. Take Time for Yourself

The hustle and bustle of the holiday season can quickly become overwhelming, creating the ideal environment for anxiety to flourish. While our minds are preoccupied by plans with friends and family, we often forget about ourselves. Taking a moment to breathe and relax can help reduce anxiety, allowing for a happier holiday.

The holidays can’t be enjoyable if your stress meter is maxed out the entire time. In this time of giving, don’t forget to give to yourself. Allow time to breathe, relax, and care for your well-being. Even if this means you might miss some opportunities, you’ll enjoy the ones you don’t miss more.

2. Have Reasonable Holiday Expectations

When the holidays come around, we are often filled with the idea that everything must be perfect, which is literally impossible.

Of course, we want an all-inclusive, no-drama, picture-perfect holiday with family and friends, but sometimes folks can’t make it. The turkey is in the oven too long, your Uncle Fred has an argument with Aunt Janice over politics, and that picture-perfect holiday begins to crack and hang crookedly on your wall of memories.

In an ideal world, these unfortunate events would have no place at the holiday dinner table, but life happens and does not always go the way it was originally planned. Keep in mind that life is unpredictable, even if you have an itinerary prepared.

Remember, we can all enjoy the holidays more if we keep our expectations reasonable.

3. Keep It Affordable

During the holidays, many people find themselves in emotional turmoil as the cost of presents, decorations, food, and parties add up. Let’s face it — the holidays can be expensive.

But they don’t have to be. It’s important to remember the reason you’re celebrating and to keep things in perspective. You shouldn’t need to take a loan and spend an arm and a leg just to enjoy yourself and feel merry.

Remember, the holidays aren’t happier just because you spent more money.

4. Avoid Toxic People This Holiday Season

The holidays are typically spent with friends and family — but that’s not a requirement. Let’s be honest. Sometimes our friends and family can be triggering and detrimental to our mental health. Not everyone is jolly around the holidays.

The holidays can bring up our own feelings of anxiety, depression, and general stress, so it may be a good idea to avoid those who are constantly spreading negativity. You are not required to see anyone during the holidays, and it’s okay to ignore people if their negativity has a harmful effect on you.

5. Be Grateful for the People Around You

Unfortunately, the ones we love are not always around. Often, we dwell on the missing person so much that we forget about the people who are there.

Although others will not fill the void left by your loved ones’ absence, it is important to remember that you have other people who love and care about you. The holidays are a time of joy. Be thankful for the friends and family who were able to share the holidays with you.

Along those same lines, be thankful for what you have, rather than worrying about what you don’t have.

In Conclusion. . .

The five tips listed above won’t work for everyone, but they may give you some ideas on how to make the holidays more enjoyable. Remember, there is no right way to celebrate, just remember to enjoy yourself.


This article originally appeared on PsychCentral as Five Tips to Beat Holiday Stress

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