The holiday season is often joyful, but it can also be a difficult time of year for many people. When you have anxiety, the holidays can be even more challenging than usual. With holiday stress, a calendar of social commitments, family gatherings, and the pressure that comes with the season, your anxiety may be at its worst, and it can make it hard for you to enjoy this time of year.
Helpful Holiday Anxiety Tips
Instead of letting your anxiety during the holidays ruin your spirit, there are ways of dealing with holiday anxiety so it doesn’t overwhelm you. As providers of behavioral health services, we are sharing tips on how to cope with holiday anxiety so that you can still enjoy this time of year.
Change Your Expectations
Sometimes anxiety stems from high expectations. Although the holidays are supposed to be a wonderful time of year, having a picture-perfect holiday season is unrealistic. This mindset will likely leave you feeling anxious and may also cause you to take on more than you can handle. Rather than striving for the ideal holiday season, change your expectations to be more in line with what is realistic. When you are able to meet your expectations and stop stressing about everything needing to be perfect, you are more likely to enjoy the moment and reduce your anxiety.
A packed schedule filled with social events and family gatherings can be anxiety-inducing for many people. While you might feel pressured by others to attend or participate, you need to put your mental health first. If your number of holiday commitments is making you feel overwhelmed, you can change your mind. If you struggle with social anxiety during the holidays, be mindful of your limits and turn down invitations that make you feel uncomfortable. If you went through co-occurring disorder treatment and are now in early recovery as well, you may want to say no to events with triggers situations or environments. Instead, choose a couple of activities or events that you genuinely enjoy.
Avoid Drugs and Alcohol
When dealing with anxiety over the holidays, many people are tempted to turn to drugs and alcohol. While these substances may help temporarily relieve stress and anxiety, they can make your anxiety worse or lead to depression as well.
One of the best ways of dealing with holiday anxiety is to practice self-care. Although the holidays may be busier than usual, it is important that you still take care of yourself or else your anxiety will only get worse. Eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and get enough sleep each night. All these healthy habits are proven to have benefits for your mental health and may reduce your holiday anxiety significantly.
Finding an effective way to manage stress during the holidays can help you drastically decrease your holiday anxiety and prevent your symptoms from getting worse. Some stress-relieving activities include journaling, yoga, and mediation. You might even find that a combination of these techniques works best for you rather than only doing one.
Determine A Budget
The holidays can also be an expensive time of year and cause financial concerns for many. If your holiday finances are giving you anxiety, make a budget and stick to it. Knowing exactly what you can and cannot afford can help you keep your spending under control and relieve your anxiety about money over the holidays.
Find Support with Others
Dealing with holiday anxiety is not something you need to do alone. If you are experiencing anxiety because you are overwhelmed, ask a friend or family member for help. You may also find that being social with people you trust can go a long way toward easing anxiety. Even phone calls and video chats can be helpful if you cannot see each other in person.
Get Profession Help
If you are struggling to know how to deal with holiday anxiety on your own, you may need professional help. While these tips on holiday anxiety relief may be beneficial for some people, more severe anxiety may require more attention. Formal mental health treatment can teach you new techniques to cope with anxiety and may also advise you on medicine to decrease symptoms.
At Vertava Health, we want to help people facing substance use and mental health troubles find relief and improve their quality of life. Contact us today to learn more about how we may be able to help you.