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Holiday Stress and Anxiety

Dr. Jill RacineAnxiety Holiday Stress and Anxiety

Holiday Stress and Anxiety

Anxiety is a feeling of fear and apprehension which is quite normal. The holiday season tends to be filled with anxiety. If you have anxiety issues you may not be looking forward to the holiday season that is fast approaching. Even if you look forward to it, you may find yourself anxious nonetheless. Holiday periods may be particularly distressing for persons with anxiety disorders. Why does holiday stress occur? Can anything be done about it and its effects?

Holiday stress may be brought about by unpleasant memories, excessive commitments, unrealistic expectations, and financial pressure. It is also possible for seasonal depression to set in around winter time. So yes, the weather can play a role in heightening your anxious moments. The activities, partying, baking, family, gifts or the lack of these may cause you to become overwhelmed and anxious or lonely and depressed.

You need not suffer from the effects of holiday stress for too long even if it manages to get the better of you at times. With proper planning and a stable thought pattern you can enjoy the holidays no matter how stressful they get.

Here are some tips for dealing with holiday stress:

1) Don’t over-drink at parties. The excess alcohol may feel good the night of the party but not so good the morning after. The light buzz you may have felt may well become an army of bees in the morning. Especially when the time is fast paced, do you need to be in control of your faculties. Additionally, any excessive habit that you cultivate at this time of year may cause anxiety to your family members.

2) Stay in the light. If darkness makes you blue try to spend most of your time in bright light. Seasonal depression is improved when sufferers are exposed to bright light especially fluorescent ones.

3) Be realistic. It doesn’t make sense to rack up a bill so high that you will spend the next year paying it off. Make simple meaningful investments instead of flashy, extravagant ones. Being realistic also means that you accept your other limitations, physically and emotionally and bear in mind that there are still 24 hours in the day so there’s no way you will get all your tasks done at once.

4) Have realistic expectations of family members and co-workers or others you may have to deal with. This can really reduce stress and the anxiety brought about by disappointment.

5) Be true to yourself. Especially if you suffer from a mental disorder do you need to take this tip to heart. Don’t surround yourself with your unpleasant family members just because it is the spirit of the season. Don’t decide to debate on every point or have everything your way, though, if you decide to get together with family or friends.

6) Don’t isolate yourself. Loneliness is a serious cause of anxiety and stress especially in the holidays when emphasis is placed on fellowship and connecting. Make use of modern technology to keep in contact with your family, volunteer at a soup kitchen or give gifts to needy individuals. Giving of yourself leaves very little time for worry.

7) Get adequate rest. This is especially hard with the wonderful parties and the number of preparations to be made. Remember, though, a tired body and/or mind will not function at its best.

8) Don’t neglect your nutrition. Who of us is going to stick strictly to that diet we’re on? – Only the strongest! There’s no need to be as strict on yourself at all the parties. However, don’t overindulge in sweets, they will make you lousy. Nourish your body as you usually would and don’t neglect your pattern of exercise. Remember changes in routine are also triggers for anxiety.

Whatever causes your stress, you can overcome it by being balanced and maintaining the right outlook. Regardless of your situation this holiday, be determined to make the best of it. Keep your anxiety issues under control and move into the new year refreshed and energized, ready to go.