The holiday season is often a time of joy and celebration, but for many people, it can also be a source of anxiety. With all the added expectations, financial strain, and social obligations, it’s no wonder that some individuals may feel overwhelmed and stressed during this time of year. Having a few different strategies in your back pocket can help you manage anxiety during the holidays and make this time of year more enjoyable. And if you’re feeling particularly anxious, know that you are not alone and reaching out for professional help is always an option.
Columbia Associates offers anxiety treatment services in Maryland and Virginia that support clients as they navigate the holiday season and beyond. Call 703.682.8208 today to learn more about our services and schedule an appointment.
Understanding Anxiety During the Holidays
Anxiety during the holidays can be particularly acute for individuals who may already struggle with anxiety or panic attacks. The added pressures and expectations of this time of year can exacerbate symptoms, making it difficult to fully enjoy the holiday season. Additionally, some individuals may experience feelings of loneliness or sadness during the holidays, which can also contribute to increased anxiety.
One of the main causes of holiday anxiety is the pressure to have a “perfect” holiday. Whether it’s hosting the perfect dinner party or finding the ideal gift for everyone on your list, there’s often a sense of needing everything to be just right. This can create immense stress and feelings of inadequacy if things don’t go as planned.
Another contributing factor is financial strain. The holidays often come with a hefty price tag, from gifts to travel expenses and hosting costs. This can cause added stress for those on a tight budget or struggling financially.
5 Ways to Manage Anxiety During the Holidays
If you find yourself feeling anxious during the holidays, try implementing these strategies to help manage your symptoms and enjoy this special time of year:
1. Practice Mindfulness
During the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it’s easy to get caught up in a constant stream of thoughts and worries. Practicing mindfulness can help bring your focus back to the present moment and reduce anxiety. You could try:
- Taking a few deep breaths and focusing on the sensation of air filling your lungs.
- Spending a few minutes each day in quiet meditation.
- Engaging in activities that bring you joy, such as going for a walk or listening to calming music.
2. Set Realistic Expectations
The pressure to have a “perfect” holiday can be a significant source of anxiety. Instead, try setting realistic expectations for yourself and your loved ones. Remember that the holiday season is about spending time with those you care about, not creating Pinterest-worthy decorations or meals.
3. Practice Self-Care
Taking care of yourself is crucial, especially during times of increased stress and anxiety. Make sure to get enough rest, eat well, and take breaks from holiday-related tasks when needed. Additionally, try incorporating relaxation techniques into your routine such as yoga or deep breathing exercises.
4. Stay Connected
Feeling lonely or isolated during the holidays can contribute to anxiety symptoms. Make sure to stay connected with friends and loved ones, even if it’s just a quick phone call or video chat. Engaging in social activities can help boost your mood and reduce feelings of anxiety.
5. Seek Professional Help
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by holiday-related anxiety, know that it’s okay to ask for help. For example, if you’re not sure if what you’re feeling is anxiety or a panic attack, it’s best to seek professional guidance. A licensed therapist can provide you with the tools and support you need to manage your symptoms during the holidays and beyond. Counseling, psychiatry, and other approaches can all be part of finding relief.
Call Columbia Associates for Mental Health Support During the Holidays
Don’t let anxiety steal your joy this holiday season. Remember, it’s okay to reach out for support when you need it. With the right strategies and professional help, you can navigate the holidays with less stress and more enjoyment. Contact Columbia Associates at 703.682.8208 or reach out online today to get started.