Tips for Coping with Anxiety During the Holidays

The holiday season is full of family, fun, and togetherness, but for many people, it is not the most “wonderful” time of the year. For many, the season comes with a lot of stress, anxiety, and even sadness. Remembering past losses of loved ones during this time of year, financial stresses, and family tensions—among a lost list of other triggers—can all be sources of stress and anxiety for people during this time of year.

At Carie™, our board-certified physicians and expert therapists have a few tips for people experiencing any holiday angst:

Anticipate Anxiety

By preparing for, and expecting the stress of the holiday season, you will be more equipped to cope with your feelings. You can coach your brain to anticipate the pressure you will be feeling, and in turn be more physically and mentally apt to handle it.

Accept Your Feelings

Recognize that it is normal to experience increased sadness and stress during the season, especially if this time of year is a trigger for you of past traumatic events. By accepting your feelings, you are better able to cope with them. Admittance and acceptance are the first steps at feeling better about your mind, your body, and yourself.

Reach Out to Community

Reach out to family members, friends, church groups, or any other trusted people around you. Socialization is one of the best ways to feel a sense of community and togetherness. No one should ever feel alone, especially during the holidays. If you are willing to reach out, people will be willing and able to offer you their support and friendship. Volunteering with a group to help others is also a great way to build companionship and lift your spirits.

Budget Your Time and Money

It is easy to overextend and overcommit yourself to your friends and family during this time of year. Before things get out of hand, talk to everyone and make a budget for gifts and plan when you will have parties and family events. This way, everyone will be on the same page and no one will feel anxious about over or under-spending. Setting realistic expectations is a great way to make yourself feel confident and soothe your stress going into the holidays. Homemade gifts are also some of the most meaningful and heartfelt of all.

Learn to Say “No”

Saying yes when you shouldn’t can leave you with feelings of resentment and be overwhelming to you. Know that your family and friends—if they are true friends—will understand if you cannot partake in everything. It can be hard to say no, but you shouldn’t sacrifice your own health and wellbeing for others’. If you can’t say no to something that is adding stress to your life, like working overtime or obligatory parties or gatherings, try to reassess your schedule and make more time for yourself so you aren’t too overextended.

 Don’t Forget About Healthy Habits 

The mindset that the holidays is a free pass to overindulge or temporarily stop your healthy lifestyle will only add to your stress and make you writhe with guilt.

  • Try eating a healthy snack before you go to holiday parties so you aren’t as hungry and your sweet tooth doesn’t do all the thinking for you.
  • Alternate between drinking water and alcohol at parties—you’ll feel fuller, end up drinking less of your calories, and ease the hangover for the next day.
  • Get enough sleep so your body can keep up with you and recharge.
  • Try to set aside time for exercise every day, even if it’s not as much as you usually do.

Sticking to your normal routine and habits as much as possible will make the holidays easier on you and make it simpler to get back into the swing of things after they’re over.

Set Aside “You” Time

So many people become stressed during the holidays by worrying about everyone else and forgetting to take care of themselves. Self-care is one of the most important aspects of mental health and reducing anxiety. Make it a priority to take an hour each day for some good, quality “me time.”

Find an outlet:

  • Write in your journal about 5 things you are grateful for
  • Take a hot bath with essential oils like lavender or chamomile
  • Meditate
  • Listen to relaxing music
  • Take a yoga class

Whatever it is, set aside time every day to refocus on the positivity in your life.

Ask for Help

Last, but certainly not least, talk to a trustworthy person about your feelings. So many people are afraid of judgment or feel weak asking for help. The worst thing you can do for yourself is to suppress your feelings. Know that you are not alone. People are there to listen and support you.

If you do not want to confide in friends or family, Carie™ has a team of board-certified physicians and renowned therapists available 24/7 to help. From the comfort of your own home, you can chat with one of our therapists privately at any time through our HIPAA-secure video platform and get the advice you need and deserve.

Don’t let the holiday season become a dreadful time of year. By following these tips, you can ease your stress and get back your peace of mind. With preparation and positive thinking, make this holidays truly mean the most wonderful time of the year.

About the Author

Julia Steiner

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