The holidays can be an extremely stressful time, especially for those with an anxiety disorder. If you have an anxiety disorder you are probably worried about the small talk, huge crowds, and being away from your comfort zone that the holidays can bring. Last year you were probably standing in the middle of the room surrounded by people with sweaty palms and a racing heart. This year I am going to give you some tips on how to make the holidays a little more bearable.
1. Be Prepared! If you are having the celebrations at home or elsewhere make sure you bring all tools you will need to handle abnormal anxiety. This may include medication, relaxing music on your phone, breathing, and grounding techniques. Be ready to use whatever you need to relax when things get too overwhelming.
2. Plan Ahead. Having an itinerary of what events you are attending during the holiday can be a great stress reliever. Make a list of where you will spend each holiday, who is accompanying you, and how you are going to get there.
3. Remember that it’s okay to take a break. Whenever I’m hosting an event in my house and things get too stressful I take a 5-10 break in my room to do some deep breathing. If you need to step outside to get some air do so.
4. Limit your alcohol intake. Many people tend to self-medicate with alcohol to alleviate their anxiety. Alcohol has been shown to increase anxiety symptoms. It is important to know your limits and drink responsibly during this stressful time.
5. Remember that you are human! Don’t be too hard on yourself this holiday season. You are going to get anxious and that’s okay. Always keep in mind that there are people around you who love and care for you. Let your mind and body relax and live in the moment.