Skip to main content

Holiday Thoughts Stressing You Out?

Holiday Thoughts Stressing You Out?

We know the holidays and year-end can be stressful and triggering. We deal with this every year. But now we have the added pressure of a raging pandemic added to the mix. We have the sensitivities and aftermath of a close and tumultuous election. We have the flavor of 2020 hanging over our heads. Hey, it makes sense that holiday thoughts are stressing you out - probably a lot more than usual.

You might be experiencing a lot of angst and have already encountered tough decision moments. Or, you haven’t given the holidays and year-end much thought yet. Either way, keep in mind that this is not our usual season. And it might be helpful to be extra intentional about going into the last bit of the year.

We don’t want to be blindsided. We don’t want to be kicked in the teeth with unpleasant surprises. We don’t want to be unprepared. We don’t want to get sucked into major drama. We don’t want to be victimized. We don’t want to make things worse for ourselves. We don’t want to end the year on a low note. We still want to make the best of 2020!

We can address this from two angles.

[Related: Supporting Each Other From Six Feet Apart]

Logistics, practical and external.

We can put our preventative, proactive, and progressive hat on and get really creative and resourceful about how we go about the holidays and year-end. We can make as much or as little of the restrictions and impact facing us as we allow. We can work around them and make the best of things.

It is what it is, after all. The sooner we embrace that this is not our usual holiday season and treat it as such, the easier things will go.

When we resist and try to force things is when we feel powerless and hopeless. This is the feeling we want to prevent by getting ahead of it. And we can, by thinking outside the box and using the situation as an opportunity to stretch ourselves and try out different things.

This is an opportunity to have a truly different holiday and year-end experience. Take advantage of it!

[Related: Create Beauty Even During Tough Times]

Meaning, emotional and internal.

If you thought the above was challenging, then hang on tight. This is where the real angst is. This is what trips people up. The expectations, family dynamics, unresolved traumas and issues, and the meaning we assign everything.

As soon as the holidays and year-end start approaching, some people’s hearts increase their palpitations. Add to it this year’s extra pressures, fatigue, and rawness. It can be tough.

The key here is to do the emotional preparedness side of things as you notice your regulation is off. You might notice edginess, impatience, intolerance, less bandwidth, lack of focus, spinning, shortness of breath, a pit in your stomach, cravings, insomnia, headaches, back pain, fatigue, and other emotional and physical states that don’t feel so great.

These are signs to take care of yourself and be intentional about how you proceed for a more pleasant and enjoyable experience.

Here are three tactics to help you ride the wave the rest of 2020:

  1. Be super intentional about how you want the holidays to go and make your plans accordingly. Use this opportunity to have different holidays. Why not make them positively memorable?
  2. Be super intentional about being preventative and proactive to minimize drama and triggers. Identify what usually triggers you during this time and address the root cause. Why not be more diligent in taking care of yourself?
  3. Be super intentional about successfully wrapping up the year. Decide what’s important for you to tackle and accomplish it before the end of the year. Why not end 2020 with a bang?

We are usually great at piling it on and tackling the world’s problems. We want to make sure in general - and especially now with everything that is going on - that we go at it with ease. That our intentionality helps us set effective boundaries, so we don’t over-pile. That it helps us be preventative and proactive about our wellness and resilience. That it helps us create joy, meaning, and connection.

If we are intentional about our approach to the rest of the year, we’ll create what we desire. The key is to get ahead of it, not wing it or do it by default.

Assignment: Choose the area that is giving you the most angst and tackle it with gusto:

  • The practical side of the holidays: Make them different and memorable.
  • Emotional side of the holidays: Get to the root of your triggers.
  • Accomplishing goals by year-end: Go for the gold.

Life is what you make of it. Make it a good one!

This time of year is usually challenging for people without all the added layers 2020 brings. Don’t allow yourself to fall victim to the restrictions and gloom. You can create a beautiful ending anyway.

Happy creating!

[Related: Five Gifts You Can Give Yourself and Your Business That Don’t Cost a Thing]


Emma K. Viglucci, LMFT is the Founder and Director of Metropolitan Marriage & Family Therapy, PLLC, a private practice that specializes in working with couples. She is the creator of the MetroRelationship philosophy and the Successful Couple Strategy, which help couples succeed at their relationship and their life. To stay connected with her and receive weekly connection notes in your inbox with Personal Development and Relationship Enrichment insights and strategies, visit:

Have more questions? Follow up with the expert herself.


Continue learning with this Ellevate Playbook: