How to Cope With Anxiety During the Holiday Season

Holidays are stressful for almost everyone but especially stressful for those living with anxiety. Anxiety is a mental illness, it’s not a choice, but there are a few ways to help you cope this holiday season. Here are four things to consider that can help you avoid some of that stress:

1. Shop online.

Avoid the crowded stores, the social anxiety, the long lines, the search for parking, going into a store where you can see the stress of the other shoppers. Seriously, online shopping can decrease so much stress. Try Amazon, Target, Walmart — pretty much every big chain store has an online store. Plus, a lot of times the prices online are a better deal than in the store, and you save the hassle of the trip.

2. Know your limits, take a breath.

Sometimes it can seem like there are 10,000 things to do to prepare for the holidays. Errands, gifts, decorating, events, traveling — lots of stress. While a lot of these things are important, you don’t have to do everything and be everything all at once. It’s OK to ask for help, and to take a day to relax and recharge. Make a list of what’s urgent and what can wait. Talk to your friends and family about what you’re going through and try delegating.

3. Don’t take on too much.

This is hard sometimes when you have family, friends, kids or work. It might seem like a good thing to volunteer for a holiday event and make the food for a party and host said party in your home and make the costumes for the holiday play — to take on all the many optional activities that pop up during the holiday season. Those are good things to do, but not to do all at once. Pick only a few things you know you can handle, because spreading yourself too thin will only cause even more stress and anxiety. It’s much harder to take care of others and get many things done when you aren’t taking care of yourself. You can still help and contribute but not overwhelm yourself.

4. Remember what’s really important.

This is sometimes hard because what is important to one person might mean nothing to another. That’s why it’s important to think and really consider what’s important to you and your family during the holidays. Aunt Malinda might think having your house covered in holiday lights is vital, but if it’s not vital to you and you’d rather spare yourself that stress, then don’t do it. Peer pressure is a problem during the holidays, which is why it’s so important to remember this is your life. This is your mental health and that’s more important than trying to make everyone else happy.

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Photo by Drew Coffman on Unsplash

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