Surviving the Holidays When You Have Anxiety


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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. Family Time

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.

  1. Socializing/Holiday Parties

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,


About Arielle

Former Cast Member and author of Arielle in the Animal Kingdom! You can check out my blog at, or my books on Amazon- I would love to hear from you!

4 thoughts on “Surviving the Holidays When You Have Anxiety

  1. It’s so funny that you posted this today, because I just posted an article on managing stress through the holidays!
    I totally agree with what you said, though! I hate the hustle and bustle of retail during the holidays, people are just generally grumpier, and – yep – even the pressure of “omg what is my face going to look like when I open this present, everyone is looking at me, act as excited as you were about the last one” is a mild stress! AHHH!

    I love spending time with my family, but I also hate the “Where are you working now? Is that what you want to do for the rest of your life? How’s school? When can we have grandbabies!?” routine. What do you want me to say? That I am 100% positive about everything, that I’m enjoying all the essays and projects I have, that work is wonderful but of course I will become an astronaut who gets paid millions next year, and that I’m planning on popping out ten babies for you? Cuz that is all so far from the truth.

    Aaaanyway, we will get through it with smiles on our faces! In my article I talk a little bit about not trying to be perfect, whether it’s putting out a Pinterest-esque holiday dinner or finding the perfect gift. Overthinking it will only stress you out more! Find a gift that you think is right and give it with confidence 🙂

    Merry Christmas! <3

    1. How funny, I’m glad someone can relate!! Ugh yes, the retail he’ll and the present pressure can be torture- it’s so weird that something that’s meant to be pleasant can trigger anxiety that way.

      Same thing with the family- I love them, but I feel like I never have the right answers. I’m always torn between saying “yes” just to please them, or telling the truth and risking more questions and bitter emotions. It’s like, what do you want first, a baby or a top career? It’s a little hard to do both at once!

      But yes, we will get through it! I’m going to check out your article for some ideas! Thank you for the kind words, and have a very merry Christmas!! 💕😊

  2. i definitely find myself craving alone time when it comes to january – dont worry you’re not alone!

    christmas is a really incredible time but it doesn’t half take up a lot of time, effort and stresses! i do always find getting the whole family together on christmas day and chilling, drinking mulled wine and eating everything in sight always makes up for all the pre-warm up stress.

    hope you have a lovely, beautiful, relaxing christmas this year arielle!

    katie. xx

    1. So glad I’m not the only one who craves alone time after the holidays! Your Christmas Day with your family sounds wonderful- definitely a reward for dealing with the stress of the season!

      I hope you have a wonderful Christmas as well 💕 Thank you for commenting!

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