It’s December, and the winter holiday season is in full swing. For many people with anxiety, the busy season can trigger problematic symptoms associated with the mental health disorder.
At Peace, Hope & Harmony, Inc., our team of mental and behavioral health specialists help men and women in Midlothian, Texas, manage a range of psychiatric and mental health conditions — including anxiety.
We also know the holidays can be an especially anxiety-inducing time. That’s why we put our heads together and came up with this list of our top six tips for managing anxiety through the holidays.
Between extra chores and appointments, which means less time for sleep and exercise, and overindulging in sweet treats, heavy foods, and alcohol, your health can suffer.
This can spell trouble for people with anxiety, since physical activity, getting enough good quality sleep, and eating right are integral parts of managing your symptoms, as they help keep stress levels down.
During the holiday season, be sure to schedule in time to exercise regularly and try to follow a sleep schedule that provides at least 6-8 hours of rest each night.
And remember, it’s okay to indulge in a treat or some holiday cheer now and then, but do your best to stay focused on eating a well-balanced diet to maintain your mental health.
Sometimes the hype surrounding the holidays on social media, television and movies, and even with family traditions can make you feel like you need to give 110% to every gift, meal, and get together. This adds up to a lot of pressure and stress, which can set anxiety spiraling out of control.
Instead, take a deep breath and set realistic, simple expectations for the holiday season. Pare down the details as much as possible so you have less to think about and prepare. For example, instead of cooking the entire holiday meal yourself, ask friends and family to chip in or outsource some of the side dishes to your favorite grocery store or restaurant.
For many people, it’s hard to turn down invitations to special events, friendly get-togethers, or contributing to different charities. But saying yes every time can mean you’re overscheduled or over budget, triggering symptoms of anxiety.
Start by taking time to really think about whether you have the space in your schedule or budget to say yes. Be honest and polite when you decline, and keep it simple. Here are a few examples:
Remember, other people might be feeling the same way you are. Keep this in mind and try not to take it personally, as this can trigger more anxiety.
When you’re feeling anxious and stressed, it’s understandable to think about the quick relief drugs and alcohol can provide. But although these substances may temporarily “take the edge off,” they actually make your anxiety worse.
Alcohol and drugs can both trigger anxiety symptoms when you take them or cause anxiety to increase when you stop taking them. If you’re struggling with anxiety and substance use, be sure to schedule an appointment with a mental health provider for personalized help.
When your anxiety symptoms escalate, it’s tempting to self-isolate. While taking some time to yourself can help you recharge and plays a valid role in self-care, spending too much time alone or isolating yourself completely isn’t helpful.
Research shows social isolation and loneliness make mental health disorders worse. Instead of locking yourself away, try making an effort to reach out to family, friends, and other people in your support system.
At Peace, Hope & Harmony, Inc., our providers understand how difficult it can be to get through the holiday season if you’re struggling with anxiety. We offer a variety of therapies customized to meet your needs rather than a one-size-fits all treatment.
The right treatment for your anxiety depends on your symptoms, personal preferences, and overall health. Many people with anxiety find the most effective treatment combines more than one treatment modality, like medication and psychotherapy.
Get help managing your anxiety this holiday season and all year long by scheduling an appointment over the phone or online at Peace, Hope & Harmony, Inc.