It is starting. Black Friday is looming, Christmas lights are popping up slowly and Thanksgiving is here. Are you starting to feel that creeping panic of holiday anxiety? Is it straining your ability to manage the day to day anxiety that interrupts the quality of your life?
Manage that which You Can
You. You can only control you. Not the weather, not the economy, not the pandemic and not the extended family and the stress of the season. It requires more focus and discipline to keep to your anxiety reducing strategy in times of high stress.
Get centered. This is the right time to maintain and expand your meditation plan. Breathing exercises, careful quiet, centered meditation can provide a barrier from the holiday scope creep of anxiety. More than most hacks for reducing and managing anxiety, the ability to redirect your mind, control your emotions and mediate your anxiety; getting centered will have lasting effects. It will ground you and allow you to clear the noise that the holidays bring with them.
Walk it off. Exercise, fresh air, and a new view will help you control anxiety, increase endorphins, and just feel better. Again, it is something you can control. The lack of control and the helplessness feelings that follow are some of the worst of the effects of anxiety.
Downward dog it. Yoga is a great stress reliever. The focus and movement again allow you to be centered and in control of your emotions. It settles your spirit and reminds you of the strong connection between your spirit, your body and your mind.
Find a Creative Outlet. Let it go with art, music, journaling, writing or some other creative bent. Expressing your emotions with the liberation of the arts can allow you to channel anxiety into passion, creativity, and discovery.
Escape. A good book with far away adventures. An audiobook to focus your thinking. A great movie that allows you to escape the pressures of turkey, letters to Santa and relatives.
Visualize. Paint an image in your mind of reasonable expectations, not uniformed and silent children, but a fun and enjoyable series of events that draw you closer. The more details you can visualize, the sights and sounds, the smells, and the feeling of coming together in whatever form that can be. See it as warm, embracing and comforting. Paint a picture of a day that makes you happy. See the holidays as low key and fun.
Plan. This is trickier as it can trigger anxiety behaviors but have a plan and a backup plan. This does not need to be detailed and time consuming. Think take-away instead of cooking, think pizza and video games instead of traditional fare. Focus on the connection, whether that is in person or on screen. Focus on the communication and the sharing. Focus on the gratitude.
Gratitude is the Attitude. Thankfulness, open and humble gratitude for all that you still have going and all the potential for coming better days. Even in the worst of this there are an abundance of things to be grateful for.
Phone a Counselor. Developing a long-term strategy for managing anxiety with a trained mental health professional is best for ongoing anxiety management. On demand services allow you to do that while socially distanced.