I’m Good Because I’ve Learned How to Reduce Holiday Anxiety

Jennifer Scott - I'm Good

Jennifer Scott – Blogger / Founder of spiritfinder.org, Photo Credit: Pexels

As someone who has struggled with anxiety and depression for years, I understand how the holidays can trigger a mental health decline. Between the stress of holiday travel, managing family relationships, and the added financial strain that comes with gift-giving, it can be difficult to feel the holiday cheer, especially if you have plans that involve socializing.

Imagine this: You just volunteered to host a holiday party and the thought of it has you a little on edge. Okay, a lot on edge. The holidays are stressful enough, so adding something to your overfull plate can be overwhelming.

One of the first things you can do is resist over-complicating the event. Making the party bigger or more elaborate than it has to be will only add to your anxiety. Here are some tips you can use to avoid common pitfalls that hosts often make, and you can rest easy knowing the party will be fun for everyone:

HOLIDAY PARTY PLANNING TIPS

  • Decide on the type of party you want to have. For example, will you serve buffet-style or a sit down dinner?
  • Consider a party theme. For example, at Thanksgiving consider A Tree of Gratitude; use an intricate tree limb as your center piece with pre-cut out leaves, and ask guests to write what they’re most thankful for. At Christmas, there’s the popular Ugly Sweater theme, or host Santa’s Workshop, and ask each guest to bring a small toy to donate to a local charity. Themes naturally make your guests more involved.
  • Keep a checklist and front-load it with as much as you can get done beforehand.
  • Make sure to consider any guests special needs. Sometimes these can’t be known ahead of time, but some common things to plan for, include offering a vegetarian dish, and a sugar free dish for any guests that might be gluten free or diabetic.
  • Don’t be afraid for ask for some help. Give friends or family members a few tasks, such as being responsible for the centerpieces or stocking the bar.
  • Plan your holiday music playlist in advance. Deciding on music on the fly can be time-consuming and stressful – not to mention distracting.
  • Consider a small party favor for guests as they leave. Party favors show your guests that you’re grateful for the time they spent attending your party.
  • Use Pinterest This social network has just about everything, including potential theme ideas, recipes for everything from appetizers and punch to full course meals, centerpiece decorations, party game ideas, and more.
  • Most importantly, make planning fun. When you’re headed out to the craft store to find items for a custom made centerpiece, meet a friend for lunch. If you embrace the party planning process, you’ll find that you have a lot more fun when party time arrives.

AVOID THESE COMMON MISTAKES

  • It’s easy to forget to introduce your guests as you’re juggling multiple tasks. Take the time to greet your guests and introduce them to others; it helps them feel more welcome in your home.
  • Always offer non-alcoholic beverage choices.
  • Not having enough food is a real party killer.
  • Forgetting to enjoy the party yourself is a huge, but common, mistake. Your guests will feed off your vibe, if you’re frantically cleaning up after everyone, or still working on more food, people won’t be able to relax either. Pre-plan enough so that you can relax and enjoy your guests company.

When party time and/or holiday fellowship comes, remember: most people will appreciate whatever level of effort you’ve put into an event, even if the pot roast is overcooked. Enjoy the imperfections that make your party perfectly you.

 

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