Most people view holidays as happy, positive, and filled with warmth. But for others, it’s quite the opposite. It’s true that holidays bring a sense of togetherness, but it also brings in a heap of expectations and commitment.

Buying gifts or traveling to meet your family when you’re struggling to pay your bills brings a lot of pressure. Others may feel obligatory to answer questions they’ve meant to avoid for a while. It’s things like these that build up and turn into holiday anxiety.

No one deserves to be unhappy during the holidays. It’s supposed to bring you everything but anxiety and a feeling of stress.

Let’s see how you can deal with this holiday anxiety in six ways.

  1. Acknowledge your feelings

Holidays call for unwanted happiness sometimes. You may be grieving someone’s loss or going through other issues when holidays force you to put on a happy face. It’s important to remember that it’s not necessary to be happy all the time.

Cry, talk to people, and express your grief the best way you can. Hiding these feelings and suppressing them will do no good. They’ll create a toxic environment for you, making everything difficult.

Writing your thoughts in a journal or a blog can help relieve some stress you’re facing. Doing a rant with your best friend or crying can also be a way of acknowledging what’s in there.

You don’t have to be happy just because it’s the holiday season. Take your time and acknowledge what you feel because it matters. Doing so will help you reflect on your thoughts and what’s disturbing you.

After this, you may even find the strength to look for a solution and do away with what’s holding you back.

  1. Clear unrealistic expectations

Addressing your issues and talking about them is the only way out of this loop. Try to clear unrealistic expectations with people.

Rather than spending your money on traveling when you’re short on budget, ask your family to have a virtual celebration on a video call. If you can’t buy gifts, write personalized letters. And if you don’t want to celebrate the season at all, tell your family you need some space and time.

They’re family, and they will always want what’s best for you. So, clear out expectations that are burdening you. Just because it’s the holidays, don’t force yourself to be cheerfully adhering to everyone’s expectations.

The holidays should bring you joy, doing things you want to do. So, stop giving in to other’s expectations and clear the air. They will appreciate your honesty, giving you the time you need to heal your wounds.

  1. Get comfortable saying ‘no’

Saying ‘yes’ when you don’t want to do something puts extra pressure on your shoulders. It builds up to overwhelming feelings that are hard to pass by. 

Start getting comfortable saying ‘no,’ If you can’t make it to a friend’s party because of other commitments, say ‘no’ rather than adjusting your schedule and exhausting yourself.

If you can’t accommodate extra hours on a project, tell your manager it’s not possible. If you can’t work on the weekends and it’s become a ritual, tell your boss.

You cannot meet your friends and family for the holidays because of other reasons, tell them ‘no.’

Saying ‘yes’ to these things will turn otherwise joyous events into resentful ones. There’s no point in doing something against your will, so spare yourself the trouble.

Say ‘no’ because you don’t want to do it, not because of any other reason. They will appreciate the transparency, and you’ll get peace of mind.

  1. Plan for the holidays

Another way to deal with the holiday anxiety is to plan for it to not pile up at the end moment. You know when the holidays are coming and the involvement it requires. So plan for it.

  • Make a budget for buying gifts for your family. Add it to your income. 
  • Book your travel arrangements in advance to save up on costs.
  • Tell your family to divide the holiday work when the month starts. This will help prioritize tasks.
  • Give a ‘leave application’ in your office well before the date so you can get the leave without any problems.
  • Prepare yourself to answer questions you’ve been avoiding.

Planning for the holidays will take away the unwarranted stress that comes with it. You’ll be able to prepare yourself financially and mentally, which can help you deal with the holidays in a much effective manner.

  1. Take a breather with friends

Dealing with problems does not necessarily require you to talk about them. Take a breather and do things you enjoy. Watch a movie, avoid social media, hit the bar, go for a mini-vacation or a date with yourself.

Reconnecting with yourself and having fun can take your mind off things that trouble you. It will help you think clearly. Hitting the ‘refresh’ button will help recharge your mind, bringing things out in the open. Then you can solve your problems with a fresh perspective.

You never know; you might even get a solution while you’re hanging out. This happens because when you’re constantly thinking about something, the problem seems endless.

Try meditating and practicing yoga if you don’t wish to go outside. This will help calm your chaotic mind, helping you think clearly. During this, you will also understand how you can find solutions to your problems.

  1. Seek professional help

Even after trying so many things, you may feel anxious and stressed. If so, seeking help from a professional is the best way to move forward. Talking to a person who can decipher your thoughts and guide you in the right direction is crucial.

Yes, you can talk to your friends and family. But a professional will help you with your problems more effectively. 

Stop suppressing your problems and start addressing them through a person who is licensed to do it. This will be the best thing for you because now you will get an answer to your problems.


Holidays are meant for joy and bliss. Don’t let them get to you, such that you dread them. Take steps to handle the situation in a better way. Recognize the need to seek professional help if you’ve tried everything else and failed.

Nothing is more important than your mental health. Holidays will come and go, but maintaining your peace of mind is crucial. 

There’s no denying that holidays can be hard. They bring nostalgia, buried memories, and repressed feelings. But they won’t go away unless you address and deal with them.

Adela Belin is a content marketer and blogger at Writers Per Hour. She is passionate about sharing stories with the hope to make a difference in people’s lives and contribute to their personal and professional growth. Find her on Twitter and LinkedIn.  


Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.