5 Things to make the Holliday season easier for those of us with Anxiety

Yes it’s that time again. Halloween is right around the corner and that is the official start of the Holliday season in most western countries. I do understand people from all over the world read this blog, and these tips can be used really anytime. That said if you suffer from Anxiety and Mental Health issues, this time of year can be horrific. It’s not just the social constructs around the holidays (costumes, gatherings, gift giving) it’s that nearly everyone is in a heightened state.

One of the worst parts of my Anxiety is being in tune to the stress levels around me. It’s like a 6th sense if you will, I can feel it when others are stressed out and it pulls me in to what often turns into a seasonal funk. If you have mental health issues you know what I mean. You are not only keenly aware of your own mental state but you are a magnet for others states as well. Enter what is, in my opinion, one of the most stressful times of the year the Holliday season.

Oh and as an added bonus? It’s 2020, so you get a pandemic and a U.S. Presidential election thrown in to boot. Joy, rapture…. To the point. How do you deal with it? How do you not only get through it but extract some good memories and positive outcomes? Well let’s try the 5 things below and see how we do.

  1. Get as much sleep as possible: The more sleep you can obtain the better you will be physically and mentally. If you are stressed and exhausted you are setting yourself up for a huge crash. Shut down 30 minutes earlier starting tonight, try and stay in bed 30 min longer tomorrow morning.
  2. Identify the top 10: You may have even less than 10 but who are the 10 most important people in your life? These are the people that you love unconditionally, your parents, kids, spouse, siblings… Make a mental list of those people, everyone below it should be held at a distance. Meaning, you expend your holiday energy on the top 10. Work parties? Pass.
  3. Buy less presents: I’m not saying spend less, but get one really nice gift per person. A lot of gifts = managing the process. Wrapping, tagging, delivery. Buy one nice gift per person, be as generous as you can and reduce your gift buying load.
  4. You do you: many people out there don’t celebrate the season at all. However everyone gets exposed to the marketing crush. Even if you don’t live in the west, you’re online you’re seeing the ads. It’s okay not to celebrate the holidays, people that pressure you “what are you doing for xmas” or “did you get XTYRE a present?” tell them you don’t celebrate it. The more you verbalize it the less pressure you’re going to feel internally. Externally when you tell people, eventually they will leave you alone.
  5. Give yourself the freedom to be sad: it’s okay to be sad during the holidays. There are people in my life no longer with me that I miss terribly. Don’t beat yourself up for feeling sad, it’s natural to miss people. It’s unnatural to be bombarded with influences that tell you, you have to move on, or get over it. Ya you do eventually, but the holidays are one of the times of the year where it’s okay to be a little sad about people no longer with you. Let yourself do that, don’t beat yourself up because you can’t let go.

I hope these help I really do. The most important thing you need to do is be honest with yourself. If you feel extreme emotional swings during the holidays, reach out to someone, do not go it alone. 2020 has been a bad year, we are close to the finish line here. Hang in there, you’re doing great.

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