Surviving the holiday season, when you suffer from anxiety.
Living with anxiety can be debilitating and exhausting, so when the holiday season is approaching you can start to feel your anxiety start to rise. You may be worrying about finances, seeing toxic relatives, or maybe just it's the expectations and perceived pressure of the season you feel. Whatever your worries, here are some tips to help you survive the season.
When we are anxious and stressed, we tend to take short, quick and shallow breaths. Breathing deeply can calm our nervous system down. Using a simple breathing technique called the 4-7-8, can act as a natural tranquilliser to the brain, to calm you enough, so you can cope in the here and now.
Find out more on this easy and effective exercise here
Take some time out each day to breathe and gather your thoughts and feelings.
It may be the season of giving, but that doesn't mean you can't take time to look after yourself. If you try to balance a busy day with some time for yourself , to take a relaxing bath, play some music, read, walk out in nature, watch a favourite show etc, it will help you cope better as your needs are still being met, this will help recharge your batteries, so that you can cope much better. Your needs matter as much as anyone elses.
You have the right to say no if you don't feel able to do something or be somewhere and you have the right to ask for help. If you feel that you simply have too much to do and need help with a few things, ask.
Often we are trying to create the 'perfect' Christmas and to be perfect ourselves and that is a perfect recipe for stress!
Think about what the important things are to you at this time of year? Your health, resting, unwinding, having fun and spending time with your loved ones, or if you, the gifts, tree and food is all perfect? Try your best not to over commit to things. Be honest with people that this can be a tough time of year for you and that you will do your best, but that you need to take care of yourself too!
It's OK if you don't like Christmas/the holidays. Not everyone does. For many the season may be a reminder that they are not married, have children, a loving family etc It may even be a difficult time for those of us that have lost a loved one. If this is a very difficult time for you, on top of your anxiety, just know this will be over soon. January will be here in no time. A brand new year. Simply be kind to yourself and find ways to make yourself more comfortable over the season, things that work for you. Maybe it's walks in nature, or spending time with your pet or people that truly support and understand you. Above all, be kind to yourself. Practice self-compassion over the holiday season. Try to challenge your unhelpful thoughts with kinder thoughts. Imagine what a kind friend would say to you.