The holidays are a wonderful time of year. I love the music, the decorations, and the general festiveness that comes with every season. However, as an introvert and a person with general anxiety, the holidays can also be very stressful.
Here are a few things I find particularly unbearable about the holidays, and the ways I deal with them.
Stores and Mall are Crazy
I don’t like crowds, and the malls around Christmastime are just insane. Everyone is pushing and shoving, people are rude, and all the good deals sell out within hours. I don’t know how I managed to once work in the mall during the holidays- I will forever avoid Yankee Candle Company like the plague. Plus, this is assuming that you can even find parking. No matter how good the holiday sales are, I like to save myself the trouble, and just buy things online during this time of year.
Pressure to Find the Perfect Gift
I always stress way too much over what to get coworkers and friends I don’t know very well. First, I have to figure out whether the other person is planning to give me a gift- not because I’m selfish, but because I don’t want them to feel awkward if I give them a gift and they don’t have anything for me. I usually end up buying something for everyone, and then if they don’t give me a gift, I either decide to give it to them anyway or just keep the gift for myself. That way, it saves everyone a lot of trouble.
Plus, what do I even get someone I don’t know very well? Do I just do generic lotions and candles, or is that too pathetic? What if I get them a gift card, but they think the amount is too low? Would they like something homemade, or will that look cheap? SO many questions- I wish I could read minds and figure out what people really wanted for the holidays.
Reacting to Gifts
Don’t get me wrong, I love receiving gifts- but I find it just as awkward to get gifts as I do to give them. If it’s something I really want, I don’t want to overreact and make the other person think I’m just pretending to like the gift. If it’s something I don’t really want, I’m worried my facial expression will betray my thoughts, and then I worry about overselling my gratitude. I just try to take a deep breath, and remind myself to be grateful that the other person was kind enough to think of me in the first place.
Extended family time can be hard for an introvert/anxiety-sufferer during any time of the year. Yet during the holidays, certain topics always make me more sensitive. So far this year, I’ve been asked about providing grandchildren a million times, as well as when I plan to buy a house, and what my next career move is. I feel like I’m supposed to have it all figured out. Instead of sitting back and enjoying the holidays with family, I worry that everyone is comfortable, healthy, and not fighting with one another. Sometimes, I wish I could just go on vacation during the holidays, but I try to just take deep breaths and step outside whenever I feel my eyes start to prickle with tears. Family are always well-meaning, but they don’t always know when a topic can be particularly sensitive to you, and it’s left up to you to learn how to let it go.
I realize that I don’t exactly get invited to many holiday parties, but I tend to worry incessantly over work holiday parties and dinners. I worry about what to wear, how to introduce my significant other to my coworkers (or vice versa), what to make small talk about…as always, the list can go on and on. Luckily, these always end quickly, and I usually leave feeling happy that I attended. However, too much socializing can drain my batteries, and I usually find myself craving alone time by January.
I know this post makes me sound like a downright Scrooge. I love the holidays, truly. But for some people, it can be a harder time than most. This is the time of year when everyone should really focus on trying to be kind to others. You never know what type of inner battle someone may be facing. Extend a smile, let the other person leave a party or gathering with a lame excuse if they want, and we can all get through the holidays in one piece.
Is there anything you stress about during the holidays?
Hugs and Fishes,