The holiday season is all about relaxation, appreciation, and reflection. But, it’s no secret that they can be stressful at the best of times.
When you’re tackling anxiety, even the smallest occurrences can seem huge, and can stop you from really enjoying the festive season. It’s easy to fall in to an anxious state, so it’s a good idea to identify your triggers and learn how to keep those feelings at bay, should they start to appear.
If you feel yourself becoming anxious, it’s important to know some relaxation techniques to help calm you down as soon as possible.
These could be listening to your favourite music, doing meditation, going for a walk, reading, or through the use of breathing exercises. To regulate your breathing, grab yourself a tissue and hold it in front of your face by a corner. Breathe in deeply, then exhale, blowing the tissue away from you. Let yourself focus on the way the tissue moves, and wait until it falls back down before repeating until you feel calmer.
It’s wonderful to catch up with family and friends during the holidays.
But, it’s okay to need some time to yourself, too.
Be honest with your family, and let them know that you love and appreciate them, but that you also need some time alone. Perhaps you can organise a key word with a couple of family members, so if you need to leave during a meal, game or conversation, you can simply say that word or phrase, avoiding extensive explanation, allowing yourself to slip away quicker.
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While time to yourself is very important, it’s also important to talk. These holidays, communicate with the people around you, whether it be general conversation or a more in-depth discussion. This helps to grow relationships and build confidence, and is so much fun!
Also, take the time to discuss your feelings with your friends and family.
You might find that it helps you to deal with your anxiety, and gives you a sense of support.
If you haven’t done so already, take some time to identify your triggers, and take the necessary steps to avoid them these holidays. If you get anxious in a crowd, visit the shops during the quieter moments of the day, or do your Christmas shopping online. If answering the phone tricky for you, record a voice mail thanking people for their call, wishing them a happy holidays, and perhaps suggesting they send you an email. If tiredness put you on edge, make sure you avoid screens an hour before you go to bed so you can get to sleep quicker.
Understanding your triggers and how to avoid them can give you much more freedom and confidence in controlling your anxiety, and can really keep stress at bay, particularly during the holidays.
There’s a lot of focus around doing things for others during the holiday season, but make sure you’re practising self-care, too.
Treat yourself to a day that’s all about you—cook yourself something delicious for breakfast, buy yourself that thing you’ve had your eye on for a while, have a long, hot bubble bath, make yourself some popcorn and watch your favourite movie.
Don’t worry about the things you need to get done, or feel as though you’re being selfish. Allow yourself to take be happy, and identify the things that make you feel good.
The important thing to remember is that you should be your number one priority. You don’t need to do anything you’re not comfortable with, or that makes you unhappy.
These holidays, surround yourself with people you love and who love you.
Eat, laugh, be thankful, and nurture yourself. You deserve all of the happiness in the world this holiday season.
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