How to Handle Anxiety During the Holidays

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couple fighting at Christmas

Whether you’re hosting, attending, or neither, the holidays can bring about stress. Pressures of cooking the best meal, putting your “best foot forward” when talking to friends or family you haven’t seen in a long time, and managing the holidays alone can all be stressful and anxiety- inducing. With the right mindset however, anxiety and stress does not have to be a part of your holiday. Here are several wonderful tips for handling anxiety during the holidays:

  • Take the pressure off yourself. Setting lofty expectations for the holidays can often cause people to feel let down because expectations most often lead to disappointments – when things don’t go exactly as planned, understand that’s perfectly fine. Set realistic expectations for the holidays and allow yourself to be surprised when holiday celebrations go better than expected.
  • Understand that most people are wondering what you think of them, rather than the other way around. Between the food and conversations, others are likely too focused on other things to be paying close attention to what you are saying or doing. Feeling self-conscious is common in anxiety, especially during holiday get togethers.
  • Find a safe retreat. If you’re feeling stressed or anxious, take a “time-out” by going to the restroom, stepping outside for a breath of fresh air, going to a room to lie down for a moment, or speaking to someone you feel comfortable with and can trust.
  • Ask questions. If you’re feeling anxious in conversation, ask questions that encourage the other person to talk more than you. Ask about kids, jobs, what books they enjoy reading, etc. This will give you some space to just breathe.
  • Spend some time giving to someone else. Volunteering and giving to others can help you feel better about yourself and the holiday season. Remind yourself that this is what the holidays are about – being kind and generous towards others.

Holidays can be stressful and can cause much anxiety, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Taking precaution towards anxiety and stress means that you will be able to enjoy the holidays more. Recognize what you do have. Appreciate the fact that you are safe and healthy. Do things during the holidays that uplift and promote your spirit, not deplete it.

Avalon Malibu is a California state-licensed mental health and substance abuse recovery treatment center. We believe that each person’s needs are different, and we strive to create a customized treatment plan to best meet your needs. Make the decision to seek help today. Call us at 888-958-7511 for a consultation.

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