The holiday season can quickly fluctuate between happy and filled with fun and excitement to stressful and triggering sadness and difficult emotions. Whether it’s all the extra things on your to-do list, dreading more time with family, or feeling pressure to act happy if you don’t feel it, the holidays can take a toll, especially for those who struggle with stress and anxiety. In this blog, we’re going to offer some of our top tips for coping with stress and anxiety during the holidays.

Set Boundaries

We know that setting boundaries is easier said than done, but it’s important, especially when you know that stress triggers are going to be present. During the holidays, it’s okay to say no. You don’t have to agree to join in on every holiday event. After all, if you say yes when you would rather say no and stay home, you’re significantly more likely to experience increased stress or anxiety. It may be stressful or uncomfortable to say no to some events and activities with loved ones at the holidays but avoiding overwhelm and giving yourself space to rest is important.

Make Time for Real Self-Care

These days, self-care is synonymous with sheet masks and bubble baths, but that’s not real self-care. Instead, self-care is about making time to care for your health needs, including eating a nutrient rich diet, staying hydrated, exercising, and getting plenty of sleep. In addition to these all-year-round self-care basics, it may also be helpful to avoid using tobacco, alcohol, and other substances during the holidays. At the very least, minimizing intake of these substances, especially in group settings, can be beneficial. Additionally, adding some yoga or meditation into your daily routine can help you stay calm and minimize the impact of holiday stress.

Make a Plan

Stress and anxiety can often be alleviated by planning. During the holidays, making a plan for specific traditions and events you want to participate in can

help you feel less worried and anxious. Just remember, when other things come up, it’s okay to be a little flexible with your plans.

Make Time for Rest

Another common stress inducer for the holidays is doing too much. It feels like every second of the day is quickly filled with things to do, places to go, and people to see. While these activities are some of the highlights of the holiday, they can also be overwhelming. Make sure to take a break if you need it. Even if it’s just a quick walk around the block or setting aside some time to decompress before bed, allowing yourself to rest and relax will reduce stress and anxiety levels.

Talk to a Professional

If you struggle to manage stress or feel overwhelmed by anxiety during the holidays, it may help to schedule therapy sessions with a knowledgeable professional. If you’re looking for a therapist in the Wilmington, NC area, call LMV Counseling at (910) 210-6160 or complete our simple online form.