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Feeling Anxiety about the Holidays: Here They Come! Ready or Not!

The holidays areFeeling Anxiety about the Holidays Here they come just around the corner…and that means family gatherings…and for some of us…anxiety…and stress…

I really am grateful that we as a society have set up holidays as the time to gather with our family and friends…and be grateful for all that we have.

Are You More Anxious and Stressed at the Holidays?

If you are more stressed or feeling anxiety, then there is the possibility that you might be struggling with perfectionism.

If you have an ideal picture of what the holidays are “supposed” to look like…then I would ask you this…”According to who?”.

Did you decide that there was the need for a 12 course dinner, complete with a beautifully decorated house, well behaving children and family members…and the best china and crystal laid out and perfectly polished?

Or was this a decision that someone else made…for you…a long time ago?

When we first moved into our house, after many years of living in a teeny, tiny condo, packed full of stuff…there was a sigh of relief. We knew that we would be able to easily fit the 20 to 25 people that would be gathered for our family celebrations.

So, it was a huge surprise to me to find out that it wasn’t the problem…the space that we had to hold the family dinner was wonderful…and yet…I was still overwhelmed and stressed.

Because now that I had that space, I had different expectations of myself…I had a picture in my mind of what that perfect family celebration would look like…and it was hard to match that up without a LOT of work…do you know what I mean?

When we have a different picture in our mind than the one that is actually in our reality…that difference can cause us to feel a lot of anxiety.

After our first Thanksgiving meal, where I worked for two days to get everything together…by myself…I sat down and cried…because I felt that I had failed.

I didn’t get a chance to sit down and enjoy the visit with our family and friends because I was too busy…making sure that it was perfect.

That night, as I was talking to my husband, we brainstormed…we are really good at doing that together…and came up with a new plan…one that works for us.

A New Plan for the Holidays

We sat down and made a map of our kitchen…and thought of different ways that the traffic pattern could go…we brainstormed where we could place the food…where we could move the banquet table that held all the trimmings and the plates and cutlery…

And we made a chore chart. We decided that it didn’t work for me to do everything and that everyone would be happier if they could contribute. If they brought food and supper was more of a potluck affair. If everyone helped clean up. And we made a decision to use paper plates.

Now, this plan wouldn’t work for everyone. But because no one in our family really cares if we eat on paper plates…it just made the day so much easier. It might not be fancy and live up to the picture that I had in my mind…but what was more important in the long run?

For right now…that is the reality…maybe in the future…I can hire a catering service, complete with fancy plates and cutlery! However, now…when the holidays come around…I am happier…because I have removed the biggest stressor for me.

I didn’t stay stuck. I stepped out of that anxiety state and I acknowledged that what I was doing wasn’t working. I cried a little.

Then I made new plans…because that is what we do…isn’t it? When Plan A isn’t working, go to Plan B…if that doesn’t work…well, I‘ve heard it said that there are very many more letters in the alphabet. LOL.

What You Can Do to Reduce the Stress and Anxiety

  • Look at what’s not working
  • Decide what you really want…is it the fancy table and meal or is it fun, peace and serenity with those you love
  • Make a new plan…one you can live with…that is realistic
  • Ask for help and accept it…you don’t have to do everything…really…
  • Make sure that you take time for yourself
  • Breathe
  • Be grateful…write it down on a post it note and put it where you can see it…often…

How do you find the holidays? Have you made peace with how you handle them? Or do you still have some work to do in overcoming the anxiety and stress, even if it is low level?

“Drive your own life…you deserve to, don’t you?” Sherie Venner


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I am a Relationship Coach who helps others create happy, healthy, loving relationships…including the relationship they have with themselves…by breaking through those blocks and barriers to success. I use various techniques gathered through training as a Master Practitioner of NLP, timeline, hypnosis and common sense gathered through life experience.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Edmund Lee November 29, 2012, 5:10 pm

    Love the tips Sherie! It’s always good to know what you really want and ask for help when needed! It’s definitely more fun when everyone is involved in the planning and preparation stage. Doing so makes the holidays more exciting for everyone and allows for some additional bonding.

    • Sherie November 29, 2012, 6:22 pm

      Knowing what you really want is so key to everything, isn’t it? : D Thanks, Edmund!

  • Vicky November 28, 2012, 10:41 pm

    Great tips! Its always easier when accept help. Thank you Sherie.

    • Sherie November 29, 2012, 6:21 pm

      It certainly is, Vicky, thanks so much for commenting!

  • Lorii Abela November 26, 2012, 8:11 am

    Excellent tips Sherie. Reducing the stress and anxiety will make out Holidays more meaningful and fun.

    • Sherie November 26, 2012, 5:53 pm

      Thank you, Lorii!

  • Estelle November 23, 2012, 11:02 am

    Love this! I have paired down significantly and will be creating my plan for the holidays this weekend – lot’s of self care and down time, along with family traditions.
    Estelle recently posted..Products for the Body, Mind, SpiritMy Profile

    • Sherie November 23, 2012, 6:15 pm

      That is the way to do it, Estelle! : D

  • Pamela Gail Johnson November 22, 2012, 8:48 pm

    Nice tips Sherie. I agree that making a plan always makes the holidays less stressful and happier.
    Pamela Gail Johnson recently posted..Thanksgiving NostalgiaMy Profile

    • Sherie November 22, 2012, 8:50 pm

      It does! Thanks for your comment, Pamela Gail!

  • Sally K Witt November 21, 2012, 9:13 pm

    Wonderful tips and info on how to deal with the holidays. I think that they just keep getting better and better.

    • Sherie November 21, 2012, 9:24 pm

      Sally, they do! : D

  • Terressa Cortez November 21, 2012, 11:40 am

    The holidays can be very stressful. So much emphasis is put on gifts and such that we lose out on just enjoying the lights, decorations and true meaning behind Christmas. Being grateful for all that we do have and sharing love with our families.

    • Sherie November 21, 2012, 7:58 pm

      Exactly, Terressa!

  • Stacy November 21, 2012, 8:46 am

    I can finally say I love the Holidays! My kids are a bit older now so they can help out, and I’ve learned that at the end of the Day, it’s really about the Day spent with family, not the perfection of it all! Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us!
    Stacy recently posted..Is Your Social Style Commending or Condemning YouMy Profile

    • Sherie November 21, 2012, 7:58 pm

      Family not perfection…well said, Stacy!

  • Suzanne Jones November 21, 2012, 6:54 am

    You know, I had never thought about this before. In my line of work, I didn’t realize to ask myself about my beliefs about Christmas. I do border perfectionism at this time! I have gotten stressed our about having things ‘just so’..Great post, you got me thinking…
    Suzanne Jones recently posted..What Your Behavior REALLY Says About YouMy Profile

    • Sherie November 21, 2012, 7:59 pm

      Glad to hear it…when you start to think…then it all changes…thanks for your comment, dear Suzanne!

  • Norma Doiron @Start, Grow &Strengthen Your Business ONLINE November 21, 2012, 6:33 am

    Great tips. Thanks for sharing, it’s always great to bypass the stress!

    • Sherie November 21, 2012, 8:00 pm

      It is! Stress can be detrimental to our peace of mind and our health! Thanks, Norma!

  • Sharon Cobb November 20, 2012, 8:19 pm

    Great article and info Sherie! I have really enjoyed reading the info you have here.

    • Sherie November 20, 2012, 9:19 pm

      Sharon, thank you, my dear! <3

  • Olga Hermans November 20, 2012, 12:49 pm

    I must say that I love the holidays. We don’t have family living where we live. So, we have our time with just our kids and we truly enjoy this. Thanks
    Olga Hermans recently posted..The Right Way and The Wrong Way of External Link BuildingMy Profile

    • Sherie November 20, 2012, 7:21 pm

      I love the holidays, too!

  • Carele Belanger November 20, 2012, 10:54 am

    Fantastic tips and very useful. Thank you so much.

    • Sherie November 20, 2012, 7:22 pm

      You’re welcome, Carele, glad you enjoyed them!

  • Angie M Jordan November 20, 2012, 9:15 am

    Great ideas Sherie! Fortunately I made a mindset shift long ago about what was important at the holidays. Now to pass that along to my daughter!
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    • Sherie November 20, 2012, 7:22 pm

      Now that is a wonderful mindset to pass on to your daughter, Angie!

  • Katrina November 20, 2012, 8:42 am

    Great article Sherie. Working in the restaurant industry has taken the concept of family home cooking out of the picture. LOL. But I enjoyed your insight and agree that it doesn’t have to be a picture perfect event, it just has to bring everyone together. Holidays are a time to catch up and remember what we have in life. Thank you!
    Katrina recently posted..Lead Generation with LinkedInMy Profile

    • Sherie November 20, 2012, 7:23 pm

      Love your insight, Katrina! Right on!

  • jean November 20, 2012, 8:40 am

    Great tips Sherie. I have had the same feelings around the holidays. Taking the time to think about what is really important to you is so helpful to reduce the stress.
    jean recently posted..5 Steps To Creating The Solutions Your Customers Will BuyMy Profile

    • Sherie November 20, 2012, 7:23 pm

      It really is, isn’t it, Jean? Thanks so much for your comment!

  • Ruby November 20, 2012, 7:59 am

    Love the check list! That’s why I’m recruiting Mom and friends 🙂

    • Sherie November 20, 2012, 7:23 pm

      LOL, awesome,Ruby!!

  • Carl Mason-Liebenberg November 20, 2012, 7:36 am

    Great article and tips for holiday stress! Along with making time for you, I’ll add and your goals! Do not surrender your personal health and wellness goals during the holidays. There is no need and it only adds to the stress! 🙂
    Carl Mason-Liebenberg recently posted..Preparing for Healthy HolidaysMy Profile

    • Sherie November 20, 2012, 7:23 pm

      You speak the truth, Carl!!

  • denny hagel November 20, 2012, 7:00 am

    I think you hit a bulls-eye with our need for perfection!! As I have gotten older I have come to realize that it is more important to let go and enjoy!! Great article!
    denny hagel recently posted..3 Ways to Create a Stress Free Thanksgiving Kid style!My Profile

    • Sherie November 20, 2012, 7:24 pm

      Letting go of perfection means we can enjoy what’s important! Thanks, Denny!

  • sue November 16, 2012, 2:01 pm

    Great article Sherie! Amazing how much more peaceful our lives are if we take the time to be grateful for what we have and then simplify things enough so that we truly enjoy what’s most important — our relationships! Thanks for sharing

    • Sherie November 16, 2012, 2:07 pm

      Sue, thank you so much for reading and for your comment! Yes, we need to focus on our relationships because that is what is really important, isn’t it? : D