The holiday season is a time to make merry, but some not-so-merry moments can destroy your morale. Everyone has something about the holidays that stresses them out. However, once you know what triggers you, you can try preventing it altogether, or at least aim to avoid the situation.

Here’s how you can achieve a happy holiday season and skip the negativity by pinpointing your holiday stressor, based on your Enneagram type.

Type 1: When things go wrong, stay calm

Listen up, Type 1s! I know it’s hard to deal with things going south during the holiday season. Your expectations are high, and you get stressed out fast when things don’t meet your standards. So it’s understandable mishaps — whether in the guest list, kitchen or otherwise — are your greatest pet peeve.

So what do you do when your turkey gets burned, or your special guest decides not to show up? Roll with the punches. Breathe. Remember, things will never be perfect, and you need to see what’s going right, not what hasn’t gone according to plan. Take some time to relax and enjoy the holiday offerings. You can’t control the unexpected, but you can control how you react to plan changes.

Type 2: Avoid giving too much of yourself

If you’re The Giver, you seek love by giving your time and attention. During the holidays, this can quickly become overwhelming. Because you have difficulty saying no to helping your friends and family, you might bite off more than you can chew. For example, maybe you agreed to help set up someone else’s Christmas tree or prep food for Hanukkah, but you also told your friend you’d assist with her holiday party prep the same day. You can try to juggle your priorities, but let’s face it — you’re not leaving any time for yourself.

Your number one stressor is feeling overloaded and letting others down because you can’t handle everything you’ve promised to do for them. To prevent this, learn to say no during the holiday season. Block out some time for yourself! Don’t let your desire to help control your holiday schedule.

Type 3: Don’t try to overdo your holiday plans

Achievers know how to get things done, but that can make the holidays dangerous. If you’re a Type 3, your primary concern is checking things off your to-do list. Of course, you want to complete every holiday task, but that’s problematic. When you start building your ideal to-do list — like buying the perfect gifts, hosting intimate dinner parties and going on sleigh rides — the stress begins piling on.

Trying to do everything will stress you out, and doing everything isn’t possible anyway. So to prevent yourself from stirring up all this unnecessary stress, narrow your list to the essentials. You don’t need to outdo everyone! Instead, stay present, pick activities that mean a lot to you and take some moments to enjoy the season instead of rushing through it.

Type 4: Enjoy seasonal traditions over fresh creativity

Type 4s spend the holiday season dreaming up creative events and options. Should you wear a Santa Claus-inspired getup? Should you host an unusual holiday party that focuses on art? How about pulling out those lesser-known holiday films you think everyone should see?

Your friends and family get it — you’re a quirky, artsy person who loves to push the boundaries and come up with new traditions. The trouble here is you can get stressed out planning these activities and find none of your friends or family appreciate them. When you feel unappreciated and unseen, your stress levels rise. To avoid this, stick to the classic traditions. Don’t quash your creativity too much, but find a balance so you can prevent feelings of disappointment when people aren’t enthusiastic like you are.

Type 5: Take time away from others

There’s nothing more stressful to a Type 5 than the constant holiday demand to connect with friends and family. As an intellectual type, you aren’t afraid of spending quality time with others, but since your biggest fear is being overwhelmed by their needs, the holidays can be a time of internal strife. As a result, you may find yourself pulled into social situations that make you uncomfortable. And since emotions run high during the season, it can feel impossible to escape.

If you’re a Type 5 who gets stressed out from holiday gatherings, don’t feel obligated to say yes to every event. When you’re around people and start to feel stressed, take some time away. Slip out the door for fresh air or find a private space to read and decompress. Keep yourself aware of your mental health, and don’t let others demand so much connection from you that you start feeling drained and unhappy.

Type 6: Stop assuming the worst-case scenario

The Enneagram Type 6 is concerned about safety, which can be quite challenging during the holidays. You have trouble having fun because you’re so focused on spotting problems. Picture this: you’re a Type 6 helping your family with some holiday prep. You watch as your sister’s kid puts their fingers too close to the hot dish that was just pulled out of the oven. The rest of the children are running around the house, being reckless. Meanwhile, your brother-in-law comes in with bags of groceries, and he’s about to drop them. You rush to intervene in (or at least comment on) everything that you see is about to go wrong. 

If this Type 6 is you, you’re stressing too much about safety prevention and forgetting to be in the moment. Let people do what they will (within reason), and don’t spend so much time keeping your eyes peeled for what might go wrong. Your stress levels will always be high when you’re on disaster mitigation patrol during such a busy season. Be more mindful about spending quality time with those you love, and hang up your safety hat for a while. 

Type 7: Balance your activities and responsibilities

Type 7s battle a fear of missing out all the time — you want to experience everything life offers and skip the uncomfortable emotions like boredom and sadness. Because of your zest for all things fun, the holiday season feels like a wonderland full of fun activities. But when you realize you can’t do everything and responsibilities start falling by the wayside, stress rises. 

To avoid stress, remember that even though it’s the holiday season, you still need to balance responsibilities with play. So take time to have fun, but don’t neglect the rest. 

Type 8: Don’t engage in pointless debates

Type 8s love to look out for the underdogs and have a strong sense of justice. Because of this trait, the holiday season can be awkward when you’re gathering with loved ones who may have different views on politics and world issues. The ultimate stressor is when someone at a holiday gathering voices opinions that don’t align with yours. As a result, others might join in, and your peaceful debate might get heated. 

Although you love a good debate, arguing with your loved ones will stress you out more than arguing with strangers. You can mitigate impending disagreements by removing yourself from the situation or letting the comments slide. Take a moment to calm yourself down. Understandably, you can’t always ignore what someone’s saying, especially if it’s a contentious subject, but you'll prevent things from escalating whenever you can by using these actions during the holidays.

Type 9: Pull back from peacemaking

As a Type 9 Peacemaker, you will have a hard time keeping your stress levels down during the holiday season. Just accept this as fact. When family members bicker, or friends are about to get into a heated argument, you’ll do everything you can to maintain the peace, intercepting conversations and cooling things down. You hate conflict and will do whatever you need to do to keep people happy, but that means you’re often ignoring your own needs.

Although you’re a natural at keeping the peace, heightened emotions during the holidays can make these situations too much. Take care of yourself and step away from conflicts. You don’t have to involve yourself in every disagreement. Sometimes it’s better to let other people work it out while you destress alone.

Have a happy holidays

When you know your top holiday stressor, you can try your best to keep it from destroying your mood this holiday season. Whether you’re a Type 1, a Type 9, or any type in between, there are ways to mitigate your stress triggers and keep the holidays from becoming too overwhelming. So take a deep breath, relax your way, and enjoy! 

Cianna Garrison
Cianna Garrison holds a B.A. in English from Arizona State University and works as a freelance writer. She fell in love with psychology and personality type theory back in 2011. Since then, she has enjoyed continually learning about the 16 personality types. As an INFJ, she lives for the creative arts, and even when she isn’t working, she’s probably still writing.