While it is common for people to become overwhelmed and stressed over the holiday season, when you deal with anxiety, this time of year can be especially challenging. The following are some tips on how to cope with anxiety over the holidays:
- Limit worrying – If you tend to worry a lot, try to limit the amount of time that you spend worrying by scheduling a “worry time” each day. Essentially, worry time is a time set aside to problem solve worries that you have. When it is outside your worry time, just write down the worries as they come up and then address them during that time. Come up with reasonable solutions and put them into practice.
- Make some time for relaxation – Schedule some time in your day for relaxation exercises such as yoga or meditation. Even a short 10-15-minute break can be helpful.
- Ask for support – Inform those close to you that you might need extra support during this time of the year. Ask for whatever you might need that will help with your anxiety (e.g, a listening ear, unconditional support).
- Stay healthy – During the holidays it’s easy to let your healthy habits slide. Try to stay on track by eating healthy, drinking enough water, getting enough sleep, and engaging in regular exercise. Exercise can be especially helpful in dealing with anxiety. Also, try to avoid caffeine, as it can aggravate symptoms of anxiety.
- It’s OK to say “no” – If you don't feel like going to that holiday party online, it's okay to skip it. If you're not feeling social, it's alright to take some time for yourself.
- Plan out your schedule – Within reason, try to plan out your schedule so that you can anticipate what is going to be happening during each day. If you find shopping anxiety provoking, try it online and don't do it all at once. Take your time to plan out each gift.
- Find something you enjoy – Find something that you really enjoy about the holidays and look forward to it. Make time for whatever it may be (e.g., baking cookies, experimenting with new recipes).
If you are experiencing anxiety and are having a difficult time, we have occupational therapists, psychologists, psychotherapists, counsellors and social workers that can help.