Help Yourself Through Holiday Anxiety

Though the holidays tend to be a time of family, cheer, good food, and gratitude, it could also be a time of stress, anxiety and feeling overwhelmed. If you feel this way, you are not alone. One study shows that 38% of people report experiencing an increase in of anxiety during the holiday season, from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day. It could be frustrating when everyone is so excited and in the holiday spirit and you find yourself dreading or anxious about the holidays.

The good news is, we can offer some tips and tricks to help you feel festive without getting your tinsel in a tangle and enjoy the holiday season to make the most of a magical time of year. For more information on how you can master the holiday season feeling good, reach out to speak to someone today and see how we can help you feel merry and bright.

The Bah Humbug Blues

There are many stress triggers that accompany the holiday season. Whether it is finances and gifting, traveling, being overwhelmed with family, or feeling lonely, the cold or the darkness that shortens the days, the end of the year can be sad and stressful for many people. Fortunately, you can practice some positive coping skills you learned from therapy to utilize at a holiday party. Yes, really!

Give yourself the gift of self-care this season by using these tips to manage your holiday blues.

  1. Breathe. Yes, it sounds obvious, but sometimes when we are overstimulated, being mindful and focusing on breathing and breathing exercises can be a very useful tactic to ground ourselves. Especially in social situations, breathing excerises are a subtle, easy, and effective way to cope with your stress and anxiety. For more tips on how to deal with social anxiety and thriving in social interactions, our group therapy can be a great place to start.

  2. Gratitude. If your loud, big family is causing you stress or overwhelming you, try practicing gratitude and changing your perspective. Although it is not always easy to challenge your own cognitive distortions and negative thoughts—understandably—working with an individual counselor can help you navigate utilizing your strengths and altering your perspective to help you feel more positive, grateful, and mindful during all seasons of your year & life.

  1. Self-care. When managing hectic holiday schedules, make it a nonnegotiable for yourself to carve out time for self-care, whatever that means to you. Whether it is spending time or alone or doing whatever makes you happy and feel good. Giving yourself time to de-stress in this busy season can help you be more present and find the holidays to be more enjoyable and less stressful.

  2. Tackle it with Teamwork. If you are navigating the holidays with a significant other (and the infamous in-laws), especially if you are newlywed, it may be helpful to have a conversation to discuss expectations for the holidays. By having this conversation ahead of time, you could help avoid at least some of the holiday anxiety by planning and being on the same page with your significant other. Splitting time, finances, traditions, culture, conflict and family could be tough conversations to compromise on. Working with a couples counselor could help mitigate some of the tensions associated with these conversations and help you understand your partner better, communicate better, and achieve holiday (and marital) bliss.

The Gift of Peace

Whether you are spending the holiday season alone, with friends, or with family, you deserve to spend it in a way that is relaxing and brings joy to you. The main way to really assure your holidays are merry and peaceful is to manage your expectations. Unrealistic expectations and catastrophic thoughts are the main cause of anxiety and future tripping. By accepting reality and thinking about realistic outcomes, you can form expectations that don’t set the festivities up for failure.

Once you accept that the perfect family and holiday does not exist and it is not in your control, you can start to give attention to the things you do have control over. Ultimately, the holidays are about celebrating, loved ones and relaxing. Whatever this means for you and your expectations is up to you, it’s totally personal.

If you need some help navigating holiday anxiety or every day anxiety, you are not alone and there are options. Whether you are an existing client or a new client, Pure Health Center has a variety of services to match your needs and help you tackle your mental health needs.

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