Anxiety Over The Holidays—Stress & Anxiety Management Series
Aahh the holidays! Such a joyous time! The holidays usually mean traveling, spending money on gifts for friends and loved ones, and spending time with family who you might not have seen in a year. What could be stressful about that?! The holidays have always been a stress-inducing time for me, as they are for most, however, as someone who has dealt with anxiety her entire life, I have developed a few tips for surviving this time of year. This is the first post in an ongoing anxiety-management series that I will be featuring on the blog. While I am certainly not a medical professional of any kind, I have developed tactics that have helped me cope during anxious moments. I hope these help you as well!
1. Have “What If” Plan
My entire life, my anxiety has stemmed from the phrase “What If?” For example, I would find myself saying, “what if I feel anxious and can’t get out of a situation?” or something along those lines. A lot of my anxiety develops when I am in a place that I cannot or “should not” leave (restaurants, airplanes, meetings, etc.) or when I am in a new place. If you’re like me and think you may find yourself anxious at the dinner table with family and friends, establish your “what if” plan ahead of time. This could also be an escape or exit route. A plan you have mapped out in your head IF you feel anxious and want to exit the situation briefly. For me, if I feel anxious at dinner or with my family, I will excuse myself and walk around outside for a minute, or go to the bathroom. Sometimes a change of scenery is all it takes to get out of your anxious headspace. Also, try to remind yourself that feeling anxious is COMPLETELY normal and harmless, and your friends or family will understand if you need to step outside for a minute to get some air.
2. Say No
You are certainly not alone in feeling overwhelmed by a full schedule over the holidays. You have drinks with friends on Wednesday, dinner with your relatives on Thursday, and your company Christmas party on Friday. When we pack our schedules full during this time, it is easy to feel like you have no time for yourself, which just leads to feeling more anxious. I secretly take great joy in saying no to outings when I feel too busy. There is nothing wrong with passing on a night out with friends when you know you’re probably going to feel crummy and unproductive the next day. Determine what events are important to you, and what events you need to attend, and arrange additional functions accordingly.
3. Double Up On Self-Care
Tips 2 and 3 go hand in hand here. When saying no to events, make sure you are saying YES to self-care. Be it treating yourself to a mani-pedi, burning your favorite holiday-scented candle, or indulging in a glass of wine, self-care is SO important during the holidays. I strive to make one night a week about self-care. I will burn candles or diffuse my favorite essential oil, put on a face mask and have a glass of red wine. No shame in my self-care game! Saying “no” to events is self-care in and of itself, but go the extra mile during this hectic season.
4. Call For Backup
Nothing seems to bring my friends and me closer than complaining together about how busy we are over the holidays. In all seriousness, odd’s are you’re not the only one in your circle feeling stressed and anxious. I like to take walks with my friends when I am feeling down or overwhelmed, no matter what the season! I have a list of friends that I know I can call anytime who will understand how I am feeling, and support me no matter what. These friendships are precious to me and I always make a conscious effort to hang with those people who raise me up, especially in times of stress.
5. Focus on Anxiety-Reducing Activities
What activity helps you relax the most? Is it yoga? Meditation? Cooking? Whatever it is, do it! Similarly to focusing on self-care, take time to do what you love. I start to lose my mind without a little light exercise or jumprope, so when I am stressed I make an effort to get a big walk in. Check the holiday class schedule at your local yoga or barre studio, and schedule time to get head to a class or two. Not feeling exercise? Try meditation! I love the Headspace app to get in a quick 10-minute guided meditation session. The key is doing what YOU love!
*Photo by Sarah Miller
**Always seek the advice of a medical professional when dealing with frequent anxiety. These are tips that have worked for me in the past, but everyone is different!
Outfit Details: Tank top: J-Crew