By: Jess Robichaud
Is your holiday anxiety on the rise? I have 7 tips for lowering your holiday anxiety to share with you today.
Lowering Your Holiday Anxiety
Growing up, holidays and the Christmas season had this magical, wonderful splendor to them. I’d get so excited about being home for the holidays and spending tons of time with my family and friends. I loved having the freedom to enjoy the holidays however I wanted.
But our first holidays together as a married couple, I began to experience feelings along with Christmas that I had never experienced before: anxiety, stress and overwhelm.
Questions like these flooded my brain:
- Who are we spending the holidays with this year?
- How are we doing gifts with so many family members?
- How much time will we be spending with family over the holidays?
I felt I was in a horrible game of tug of war between wanting to take care of my family, my husband’s family, my desires and his desires.
I remember the amount of weight I felt and it was crippling.
Friend, I wish that someone had talked with me and walked me through this process…so I’d love to take a couple of minutes and do that with you here as I share 7 tips for lowering your holiday anxiety.
7 Tips for Lowering Your Holiday Anxiety
1. Have a conversation with your husband.
Get things out in the open and have an honest conversation about expectations for the holiday season. Talk with one another about what your individual needs are and what you would like the holiday season to look like practically. Talk about your fears and anxieties. Talk about your hopes and excitements.
This was absolutely critical for my husband and me. He is more introverted and usually prefers to spend more intentional time with just the two of us. He dreams of spending the holidays cuddled up watching Christmas movies, taking walks in the snow, and having time to slow down . On the other hand, I love to be around lots of people, play games and have spontaneous fun!
Neither is wrong. But each person needs to be honored and respected.
2. Remember that you don’t have to meet everyone’s expectations.
You can’t meet everyone’s expectations, so don’t try to do this. The most important thing is that you and your husband are on the same page about how to navigate the season.
3. Be creative and flexible.
During our first year of marriage, I felt so much pressure to get the right gift for each family member. I wanted my new family to feel cared for and I wanted to choose the absolute perfect gifts for each of them.
My husband and I were on a strict budget, though, so it felt impossible. I would think of great gifts and I would get really excited, but then my husband would gently bring me down to reality about what we could actually spend.
There were definitely some heated discussions in there about how to move forward with Christmas gifts.
But then we came up with a great idea. What if we just didn’t do gifts? What if we just got together for dinner with these family members and played games, watched a Christmas movie and went looking at Christmas lights? The family was all on board with this idea and we have a blast each year.
You can also come up with a creative plan that is flexible and honorable for all.
4. Set a budget with your husband and stick to it.
I can’t tell you enough how important this one is. Talk openly with your husband about what you are both comfortable spending on gifts and stick to what was agreed upon.
You don’t want to overspend and have to pick up the mess (financially, relationally, and emotionally) when January hits.
5. Savor the season.
Don’t get so caught up in all of the details that you miss enjoying the season. Sip some cider or a peppermint white mocha. Take in the smells, the lights, and the laughter. Enjoy Christmas songs, play games and cuddle up with a Christmas movie.
In short, slow down. You won’t regret it.
6. Spend time with people who bring laughter and joy.
There may be some obligatory things you need to do, but let those be a small part of your holiday season.
Make time to be around people you truly love to be around and who bring you joy. Make time for those people who will make you laugh until your sides hurt and will bring a richness to the season.
7. Keep Jesus the focus.
In the hustle and bustle of buying gifts, figuring out logistics, and experiencing so much fun, remember the point of the season.
The God of the universe came down to earth to change all of humanity:
“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).” – Matthew 1:23 (ESV)
By keeping him the focus, our hearts can keep the right perspective.
Merry Christmas, dear wife. May your heart be filled with the joy and peace that Jesus came into this world to bring.
Wife Step: Which step do you feel will be most helpful for you this holiday season?
Jess is passionate about helping couples have an awesome marriage built on the foundation of Christ. Out of their own marriage struggles, Jess and her husband, Adam, founded Radiant Marriage to challenge and encourage couples towards deep levels of intimacy with each other and with the Lord. Jess is also a marriage and family therapist intern where she walks with couples through trauma to bring healing. Together with her husband, their main goal is to radiate the love of Christ and bring hope to couples in the midst of difficulty.