According to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America (ADAA), “For many people, the idea of entering a crowded room and chatting up coworkers or strangers at a party, exchanging gifts with friends, traveling from home, or attending large family gatherings can produce intense anxiety, depression, or both.” If you have an anxiety disorder, the holidays can exacerbate your symptoms and make your anxiety even worse.
Luckily, there are many ways to manage your anxiety during this time of year – whether you are anxious about finances, big social gatherings, or something else. Start by de-stressing.
The ADA recommends the following tips:
- Take the pressure off yourself.
- Know that most people aren’t paying much attention to you.
- Identify your specific concerns and remind yourself that although you may feel uncomfortable, that’s the worst that can happen.
- Don’t look for relief in alcohol or drugs, as this can make anxiety worse.
- Smile, make eye contact, and ask questions, while avoiding politics and other topics that can lead to heated discussions.
- Choose to say “no” to avoid overscheduling yourself.
If you are struggling with de-stressing during the busy holiday season in general, John Hopkins Medicine offers four tips for staying mindful:
- Accept imperfection – if things don’t go as planned, that’s OK.
- Don’t lose sight of what really counts – don’t let the little things ruin this wonderful season.
- Respond with kindness – you never know what a difficult person may be dealing with.
- Rethink your resolutions – start small and be kind to yourself.
If your holiday anxiety feels overwhelming, you don’t have to suffer. Talk to your doctor or a licensed therapist to figure out more practical tips to help. Everyone deserves to enjoy this time of year!