Over the years, I’ve become so focused on making the holidays special for my friends and family that I’ve stopped making them special for me by running myself ragged. While generosity is one of my all-time highest values, and I love doing nice things for people, this year, my emotional piggy bank just isn’t full enough, and all I want to do is watch cheesy movies, spend time with people who make me feel good, and drive around looking at Christmas lights.
Nothing’s wrong; I’m not angry at anyone, and I don’t particularly have more on my plate than I did any other December. If anything, I’ve never been lighter—over the past year, I’ve learned how to help myself with anxiety, and it’s improved so drastically that I can’t even tell you the last time I felt weighed down by it.
How I’ve mitigated my anxiety is by listening to and honoring my feelings and giving myself what I need.
Last week, a friend told me he was having worse anxiety than he’s ever had before. I told him that I’ve figured out how to manage my anxiety by learning how to set boundaries and saying no when something doesn’t make me feel good. I suggested that he try turning inward and listening and that perhaps he’s saying yes to something that he needs to be saying no to, and that’s why he’s feeling so anxious right now.
The conversation reminded me just how bad things were for me a few years ago—I was living in a perpetual state of anxiety, always putting others before myself, and it was causing my emotional health to decline. My therapist got me to see that I wasn’t honoring my needs. As I began to honor my needs, I felt the anxiety lessen—and now, it’s pretty much gone.
We’re supposed to put our own oxygen masks on before helping our neighbor, and I used to feel terrified when I would make choices that prioritized my own needs above others, but over time, it’s gotten a lot easier.
Since I made the decision to do so much less for the holidays this year, I’ve actually felt a bit more energy and enthusiasm creep back in. By not overextending myself, I’ll be much more pleasurable to be around, which benefits everyone—definitely more than a gift would.
I’ve spent almost my whole life thinking that prioritizing myself was selfish, but now, I see it all differently. I wouldn’t want anyone to give me something they didn’t have to give, so I should give myself the same courtesy—and you should, too.
This holiday, if you don’t have much to give, then don’t. If you can squeeze out a bit, get something nice for the kids, but your adult friends will be fine if you tell them you can’t exchange this year. And if you don’t make the neighbors cookies, I assure you, life will go on.
You have the power to improve your anxiety if you pay attention to what you need and give it to yourself. I promise by honoring your needs, you will feel less anxious, and if you’re like me, over time, your anxiety may even go away entirely.
Question: What do you want less of this holiday season?
Share your thoughts with me on this morning’s IG story! ❤️