The holidays are a time of cheer, but for many, this is also a time that can bring about many mixed feelings. If you have struggled with anxiety around the holiday season, know that it is possible to navigate this time confidently.
Here are Dr. Mason’s four tips for managing holiday season anxiety:
1. Recognize your feelings
Feelings can come in many forms when we least expect them. Some of these feelings are noticeable, and others can peak below the surface. Notice when these feelings arise to better navigate the various emotions that may appear during the holiday season. Clues to an increase in anxiety or general discomfort can present in a general feeling of unrest, a sudden mood shift, and a loss of appetite. This can also prolong for a period before the holidays, such as not feeling excited about upcoming events. However, your feelings may arise; recognizing them is the first step in bringing awareness to the healing process.
2. Don’t be afraid to explore your concerns
Oftentimes, when made aware of our feelings, what feels safest at the moment is to keep these thoughts to ourselves. However, in these very moments, I like to encourage my clients to nurture those feelings and allow them the space to explore them. Whether on paper or through talking to a trusted family member, friend, or therapist, expressing one’s feelings can bring feelings of relief and clarity.
3. Honor what you need this season
For many, the pressure of the holidays can become debilitating. As we transition into a post-pandemic reality, the need to show up and honor commitments can feel like a significant shift. However, you can bring mental wellness into your holiday plans by showing up for what you need most during this season. For some, this can come from not overcommitting to holiday engagements. For others, it can be preparing respectful responses to prying questions at the family dinner table.
Learning to show up for yourself when needed allows you to be at your best and show up for others too.
4. Celebrate your progress
Learning to tend to the various feelings that come along with the holiday season (or any other high-pressure time period) takes great work and is a true accomplishment. I always like to encourage my clients to take a moment to celebrate this progress because it is through these little step-by-step changes that we become a better version of ourselves.
With that, The Mind Spa wishes you and yours a healthy holiday season!