7 Ways to Survive a Panic Attack During Christmas

The holidays are here. It’s the time to spend time with family and share joyful moments and good food. However, for those of us with anxiety, the stress of the holidays can very often trigger panic attacks, which are unbearably uncomfortable at the best, and debilitating at worst. They are especially inconvenient and embarrassing when around family members or out and about Christmas shopping. So, what do we do when this little monster rears its ugly head at the worst possible moment, this season? I’ve found quite a few things that help make panic attacks easier to handle during busy moments such as these.

1. Get to a safe place as quick as you can.

If you’re out shopping or are not at home, try to find a place where you won’t be in anyone’s way, even if it means a public bathroom or your car. Just find any place where you can safely ride out the panic attack. 

2. Try not to be on your feet for too long.

Panic attacks can make you weak, and I know for me, my legs especially get very weak. Finding a place to sit down is easier when you’re at a family member’s house, or you can at least get to your car.

3. Eat something.

Stress and a surge of adrenaline can lower your blood sugar, which will only make the panic attack much worse. It’s not a good idea to eat anything with simple sugars or carbs, so those gingerbread cookies and hot chocolate might be something you want to avoid. Some great food choices for safely spiking blood sugar would be any type of fruit, nuts, meat, whole grains and herbal teas.

4. Get hydrated.

Drinking lots of water is great for flushing out impurities and helps your body get energized again. This will help replace any water lost from sweating. 

5. Find relaxing music.

My personal favorite during the Christmas season is Christmas jazz, but any kind of relaxing music will help set your body back into a relaxed state. Keep an iPod with you, with a relaxing music playlist so you have access to this tool anywhere you go.

6. If you can, take a short nap.

The aftermath of a panic attack is exhausting, and you may need a 20-30 minute power nap to help recover. If you must, excuse yourself to lay down for a bit.

7. If you need to be alone to recover in general…

Don’t be afraid to tell your family members you need to go and take some time to yourself. You may want to grab your coat and scarf and take a short walk around the block if you feel strong enough. 

Please don’t forget to take care of yourself this holiday season. It’s the best gift you can give yourself.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Getty Images photo via Kerkez

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Anxiety

Concentrating students sitting at the college lecture hall

Why I Dislike Participation Points in College Classes as Someone With Anxiety

If you struggle with anxiety, you might know the feeling. I sit down in class and examine the syllabus. Basically, the Bible for the whole semester. And then I see it… Participation: 15 percent of final grade My stomach drops. Most college students would find comfort in this. It’s easy to raise your hand and [...]
Woman hand writing or signing in a document on a desk at home or office

What I Want People to Know About My Test-Taking Anxiety

I am in high school. That means I have to endure final exams just like every other student. But for me, it’s a little bit different. I have anxiety. My mind works a little bit differently than most other students might. My rational thoughts can often be overridden by a simple anxious moment. One second [...]
woman blue and pink background

8 Reasons I'm Afraid of Love as Someone With Anxiety

This piece was written by Heather Elizabeth, a Thought Catalog contributor. 1. Love is scary. It’s full of feelings I’m not sure how to handle. As an anxious person, I have a fear of unexpected things. I like control. I want to be able to prepare. When falling in love, you never know what’s going to happen or [...]
woman in warehouse or tunnel with hand to head

Why We Need to Remember the Physical Symptoms of Anxiety

For about six months of my life, I had a constant lump in my throat. When I woke up in the morning it was there and it remained with me until I fell asleep at night. It impacted my ability to talk, swallow, eat and drink. I went to several ENT doctors and they told me [...]