The holidays are a stressful time of year for many, especially those who are susceptible to bouts of anxiety and depression. While the holidays are filled with family get-togethers, delicious food, and cheer, they can also be quite stressful. People often resort to bad habits when the holidays hit, something which many pay for once the merry season is over. There are numerous reasons for this, but for one, people tend to experience heightened emotions during the holidays. These emotions can be both good and bad – ranging from loneliness and angst to happiness and elation. This juxtaposition of emotions can wreak havoc on the mind and body, which is why it is important to learn how to manage your anxiety during this busy time of year.
According to the American Psychological Association (APA), almost half of all women in the United States experience high levels of stress during the holidays. This doesn’t just impact how they are feeling day-to-day, but it can put their health at risk. Unfortunately, many people turn to food and alcohol when stress levels are high. While this may seem like a good way to “take the edge off”, it can actually do more harm than good. It is important to find healthy ways to manage stress and anxiety, throughout the year and during the holidays. With that in mind, here are a few ways you can relieve stress and keep your anxiety down this holiday season:
- Rely on your support system – If you are experiencing anxious feelings or heightened levels of stress, try reaching out to loved ones or someone you trust for help. If you are feeling lonely or isolated, seek out friends and family members who understand you and can lift your spirits, or simply listen to you.
- Practice self-care – Lately it seems self-care is a hot topic, and we’re not complaining. The best way to keep yourself calm and at-ease during the holidays is to try and not get overwhelmed. Meditate, focus on your breathing, take breaks, and just do something nice for yourself every once in a while.
- Exercise regularly – Take a yoga class, go for a brisk walk or run around the park, head to the gym…just do something that will get you outside and away from feeling bogged down by stress. Physical activity not only boosts your energy levels, but it can elevate your mood.
- Plan ahead – Writing down everything you need to take care of during the holidays is a great way to get a handle on your to-do list without feeling overwhelmed and anxious. Take one day at a time and go back to your list whenever you start to feel your anxiety bubbling up.
- Do what works for you – If you are someone who lives with anxiety, chances are you’ve developed some coping strategies to get you through difficult situations. Be mindful of what works for you during the holidays and do your best to rely on these methods when you are having a stressful day.
The holidays are tough for many of us, but even more so for those living with anxiety. If you need help this holiday season or would simply like to talk to someone about what you are experiencing, please contact our Carrollton therapy center. Our entire Lifeworks team is here for you and welcome you into our counseling center with open arms.