The Key To Managing Holiday Anxiety, According To A Neuropsychologist

It's the most wonderful time of the year, or so they say. For many, Christmas and New Year's Eve are synonymous with great food and long-awaited family reunions. For others, however, the holidays are a darker time — maybe as they spend them coping with grief over the first holiday without a loved one or don't have a good relationship with their relatives. Either way, this time of the year can be stressful and create a lot of undesired feelings in us. Whether you want to make the tastiest dinner or you are trying to figure out how to avoid uncomfortable questions from grandparents, we all have stressors that might trigger us at the worst time.

According to Mayo Clinic, you must acknowledge your feelings in order to find the best solution to heal. If you are worried about spending too much money, stick to a pre-planned budget. If you are triggered by someone or don't have enough energy to participate in celebrations, learn to say no. Clinical psychologist Neda Gould also recommends accepting imperfection and not feeling guilty for not having our dream holiday celebrations. "It's OK if it's not perfect. Imperfection is healthy and normal. For some of us, it might just take a little practice," Gould told Johns Hopkins

There are certain things that will help you deal with holiday anxiety, according to neuropsychologist Dr. Sanam Hafeez. 

It's important to prioritize yourself

In a recent episode of The Everygirl podcast, neuropsychologist Dr. Sanam Hafeez shared some advice on how to cope with holiday stressors. "I think that holidays are stressful no matter who you are. But it hits a little harder if you're maybe been in a place that's not the best. If you're single, you're not happy with your job if you're not happy with the way you look . . . the holidays have a way of compounding those things and making them so much worse. So I think the easiest and best advice for the holidays is what the advice would be for the rest of the year. In order to carve out time for yourself, you actually have to prioritize time for yourself."

Many times people are triggered by being questioned about their life over the holidays because they aren't in the place they want to be in their lives and they are projecting their insecurities, Dr. Hafeez explained. Dr. Neda Gould from Johns Hopkins recommends being kind to ourselves and rethinking our New Year's resolutions. She suggests starting by setting small milestones and not punishing ourselves for not achieving all of our wishes.