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7 Ways to Survive a Panic Attack During Christmas

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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.

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Getty Images photo via Kerkez

Originally published: December 22, 2017
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