Even if you feel like the holidays are the most magical time of year, they can still cause anxiety and stress. But, whether you love or dread the season, there are ways to manage the emotions they can muster.

Our team at Compass Mental Health & Wellness in Houston understands how challenging anxiety can be, especially during the holidays. That’s why we offer compassionate, integrative solutions to help people of all ages manage anxiety and stress.

If you live with anxiety, we recommend taking these steps to help manage the stresses that can come with the holiday season.

Plan ahead

Have a good plan, especially during the holidays. Take time to recognize what triggers your anxiety this time of year. Is it family dinners? Social gatherings? Finding the perfect gift or traveling? Loneliness or isolation? Write down what you discover.

Once you identify your triggers, create a strategy for how to handle them. For example, if air travel makes you anxious, confirm all of your details ahead of time and allow plenty of time to check in and find your gate. If you find yourself overwhelmed by large gatherings, try to limit the number of invitations you accept.

And, if you have trouble identifying your triggers or creating a strategy to handle them, our team can help.

Ask for help

Whether you struggle with anxiety year-round or only during the holidays, it’s always OK to ask for help. This support can come from various sources, including co-workers, friends, and family.

Once you identify someone you trust, let them know exactly how they can help you, such as:

  • Giving you a hug
  • Going on a walk with you to help you decompress
  • Listening when you need a confidant
  • Sharing a secret signal so they know when you feel overwhelmed

If you need additional support, a professional can provide expert tools and resources specific to your unique needs.

Keep it simple

A sure-fire way to end up feeling anxious or overwhelmed is to take on too much. And it’s easy enough to make that mistake every day, but it’s even easier during the holidays.

Instead, try to simplify things this season. For example, host a potluck instead of preparing an entire meal by yourself. Or skip the mall and buy people gift cards. Or make charitable donations on their behalf.

Remember, what makes the holiday season special is the time you can spend with the people you care about, not an extravagant meal or gift. And the simpler your approach, the more you’ll be able to enjoy it.

Make time for yourself

Ever struggle to find time for yourself? This often becomes even more challenging when the holidays begin. However, it’s more important than ever, especially if you want to keep anxiety at bay.

We recommend scheduling time for yourself to relax every day, even if it’s only for 15 minutes. During this time, do something that you find soothing, such as:

  • Having a cup of herbal tea
  • Journaling
  • Reading a book
  • Practicing yoga, deep breathing, or meditation

You can even light some scented candles and take a bubble bath.

Prioritize your health

The holidays make it easy to ditch all of those healthy lifestyle behaviors that can help keep anxiety at bay. However, overindulging in food, sweets, or alcohol and skimping on sleep and exercise can work against you.

To avoid this common pitfall, make your health a priority by eating right, exercising regularly, and getting plenty of sleep. It’s also essential to watch your alcohol intake, because it can actually worsen anxiety symptoms.

Remember you can say “no”

Last but not least, give yourself permission to say no during the holidays.

You may feel obligated to accept every invitation that comes your way, whether it’s a cocktail hour, family dinner, holiday event, or volunteer opportunity. However, there’s no rule that says you have to do everything, especially if it causes stress or anxiety.

It’s OK to decline things. It is, after all, your holiday season, too. Plus, giving yourself permission to say no can help ensure you get to enjoy the things you want to do most.

Do you want more tips on managing anxiety through the holidays? We can help. Schedule a consultation with Compass Mental Health & Wellness by calling 281-318-5098 or booking an appointment online today.

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