Much of the stress during the holiday season is due to expectations. If you can question the expectations in your head, then you can help yourself deal with the anxiety.
The first thing to realize is that all of the expectations that you have for yourself were not originally your own. You can make a list of the things that you expect yourself to be able to do and then question each one.
Take them one at a time and ask yourself if the expectation is reasonable. Then question the expectation as to whether it was your own picture of how the holidays “should” be or if it was programmed into you by someone else.
Some things were programmed into us by our parents from when we were very young. This does not mean that you have to keep it. For example, if you were taught that you have to make dinner and have all the relatives at your house for dinner …ask yourself if that was your desire or of that was someone else’s desire.
On the other hand, maybe you were taught that you have to travel out of state to have dinner with your mother in law on Christmas. Maybe you have faithfully done this every year for 15 years now.
There is not rule that says you have to do the same thing every year just because you are “expected” to do it this way. You should get a turn to do something you actually want to do.
What is the point of the holidays if you get extreme anxiety preparing for them, no one realizes just how much you sacrificed and then you are relieved when the whole thing is over.
It can be like a torturous chore that has thankless results. Even the people that have expectations of how you are going to so things, will not really appreciate it.
Holidays are about peace , happiness, connection and showing others that you care about them. So find the ways that you can show your loved ones that you care….without causing yourself depression and anxiety.
You may come from a family that always buys gifts for each other, but you are a craft lover and would much more enjoy making the gifts yourself. Or maybe your family expects home made gifts but it would be easier with your time constraints, to order them on Amazon.
Other people are not living your day to day life and they do not know how hard things are for you. The chores of the holiday season can be way too much, on top of your already hectic schedule.
You can tell people that you are making a few changes this year. Think about what you always do and see what things you do not want to do that way. Think of creative ideas to do things differently this year.
People may fuss at you. That is true. But you have to weigh dealing with someone else being upset, against all the anxiety you will go through …just for them to complain anyway….