For anxious people like myself, the holidays can be taxing, exhausting, and completely overwhelming. I struggle with finding a balance between obligations, things I want to do, and having alone time to rest and recharge.
On Tuesday, I visited Frederik Meijer Gardens by myself to get that peace and quiet I know I won’t be getting for the rest of the week. Please don’t get me wrong, I may sound like I hate the holidays, I hate my family, and I don’t want to spend time with them, but that couldn’t be further from the truth!
I’ve noticed that this is an assumption that many people make who have never dealt with anxiety themselves, or at the very least, have never been an introverted person. I LOVE the holidays and I do enjoy spending days with friends and family, but those days drain me physically and emotionally. I can handle it for a little while without anyone noticing, but if I don’t get that break to rest, you’ll probably notice me getting more withdrawn and, I’ll say it, grumpy.
This is evident throughout the year as weekend plans are made. I can handle plans being made one or two of the weekend days, but if my entire weekend gets booked and I have no break, I get panicky and agitated. So if I ever decline plans with you, it may simply be because the rest of my weekend or week is already pretty full, and I need some alone time.
All of this to say that I’ve got a few ideas to get us anxious introverts through the holidays.
Schedule a Break
I can’t tell you how important this is when it comes to giving everyone and every event your best self. It truly means taking care of yourself first. Tell your family you have to leave 30 minutes earlier than normal and then go home and have a bath! Light a candle, listen to music, read a book. You know what works best to relax you so make sure you schedule it!
Be a Team Player
Do not go through the holidays alone. What I mean is, get someone in your corner that will be in your home or at these events with you. Consider them your wingman/woman, if you will. This person can be a spouse, a parent, a sibling, anyone that you can be honest with and explain your situation. Ideally this person will be someone who can help distract you, or even get you out of situations when you’ve had enough. You don’t have to announce to the whole world that you have anxiety and you just want to be home in your pajamas, but if one other person you trust knows, they can be your biggest relief during this busy time.
Learn How to Say No
Believe me, I know how incredibly hard this one is for us anxious people. We care what people think about us way too much so of course we don’t want to disappoint them by not attending their function or not making that super involved dessert they requested. Honestly though, we’re not just hurting ourselves by saying yes when we really need to say no. We’re not being truthful to ourselves or the person making the request and believe me, that tends to backfire more often than not. There’s a saying out there about how someone reacts when you tell them no ends up saying much more about them than it does you. If someone gives you a hard time, know that you are doing your best to take care of yourself and sometimes that interferes with what others expect/want from us, and that’s their problem. I know, I know. I sound really harsh, don’t I? This is a lesson I struggle with so much, but it is true! I feel SO much better when I don’t try to force myself to do something I should have just said no to in the first place.
Now, I’m not saying hide from the world and turn everything down! Only you can know what is too much for you, and what you can handle but maybe you’re just a little scared. Don’t use no as an excuse to not live, use no as a way to live your best life.
I’m going to leave it at that as we here in the United States prepare for Thanksgiving. I’m sure more fun things will pop up between now and Christmas, so look for that! Until then, how do you handle stressful situations? What’s your go to relaxation method? And lastly, what are you most thankful for this year?
Please note: Nothing I will ever say on this blog should be taken over or instead of a professional’s opinion. I only mean to reach out and encourage those struggling with anxiety as I do. I want you to know that you are not alone, but I also wanted you to know that I am under a doctor’s care and I recommend you talk to your family doctor as well if you’re experiencing any kind of anxiety.