This is a guest post from Jennifer at Spiritfinder.org! Her website is an amazing resource for anxiety, depression, and various kinds of mental illness. She has spent time researching and writing on the matter, and has first hand experience with beating these illnesses! Be sure to check out her website!
Contrary to the advertised joy and cheer, the holiday season can often be synonymous with stress, overbooked schedules, and, in the case of the anxiety prone, more frequent anxiety attacks. The holidays arrive with all kinds of demands on one’s time and emotional well-being, including shopping, parties, cleaning, cooking, and entertaining, to single out a few activities linked to the season.
However, with the following practical tips, you can minimize the anxiety you feel regarding the holidays and even enjoy the season more than you originally thought you would.
Be in Tune With Your Feelings
It’s important to give authentic expression to the feelings you are experiencing during the holiday season. While anxiety may pop up, this time of year is supposed to be about bonding with friends and family, cheer, and joy, but if you’re having a hard time processing your emotions, acknowledge your feelings and blow off steam. Take time to talk your problems over with a friend, write in a journal, or meditate as you seek to understand your emotions during this trying time.
It may be that your friends are too busy to meet up with you during this time of year. Seek out volunteering, religious, or community events. You’re certain to find companionship and support among the people attending. The key is finding like-minded people who have a lot in common with you. Volunteering, especially, is known to enliven spirits and significantly broaden one’s network of friends.
Feel Free to Change Traditions
The holidays don’t have to be the same as they were last year or the year before that. Variety is the spice of life and will help you look forward to something different this year. As families evolve and grow, rituals and traditions can change as well. Propose switching out one tradition for another this year. Or if circumstances are barring the whole family from getting together this year, start an exchange of emails, pictures, and videos as a way of celebrating with each other during this special time of year.
Hang Out With Your Pets More
As the snows and cold temperatures arrive, make more time to bond with your pets. They’ll be indoors more anyway, so snuggling up to your dog and playing with him inside your home or outside in the snow is a terrific way to tone down stress and anxiety. Your pet dog loves you unconditionally and is happy to express his love to you. All you have to do is say “Fetch!” to trigger his infectious happiness. The extra time you spend bonding with your pets will do wonders for your health, spirits, and constitution.
Keep to a Budget
Decide on how much you’re willing to spend on gift and food shopping for the holidays, and stick to your budget. Often, being creative with gifts will make the gift more memorable in the recipient’s eyes than spending a lot of money on a present. Such ideas include donating to a charity in the gift recipient’s name, giving out homemade presents, and starting a family gift exchange.
Seek Out Professional Help for Anxiety
If your anxiety symptoms are getting the best of you, and you find yourself bothered by physical complaints, lack of sleep, hopelessness, and irritability, then turn to a professional therapist to help during this demanding time of year. View hiring the professional as the gift you are giving yourself because sometimes a listening ear is all you need to help you get through the trying holidays.
The holiday season can aggravate anxiety, but by following the above practical tips, you’ll find yourself better equipped to cope and deal with the season. Before you know it, the season will be over and a brand-new year with all its potential opportunities will be there to greet you.
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