The holiday season is usually filled with tons of activities and family gatherings. Depending on where those family gatherings are happening, you may even have to contend with the chaos of holiday travel. It’s hard enough to deal with all of that without adding anxiety to the mix, so Anxiety Mastery takes a look at the best ways to cope and still enjoy the season.
Develop a Support System
A support system can be integral to helping you manage your anxiety during the stressful holiday season. These are the people who will be willing to listen to you and back you up when necessary. If you don’t have an established support system, then it would be best to start working on it before you get into the middle of the holidays.
To do this, make sure you’re looking for people who genuinely care about you and who have a positive effect on your life. If you’re in a leadership position at work, seek out those who can empathize with you regarding the extra burden and stress of managing a workforce and carrying daily responsibilities of operating a profitable business.
Before you make any decisions about which parties to attend or avoid, you should assess the impact it will have on you and your family members. If you really feel that a particular event will be too much to handle, then it might be best to stay away. In that case, be sure to let your loved ones know well in advance that you won’t be in attendance.
For the parties you decide to attend, The Mighty suggests thinking ahead about potential triggers and planning accordingly. It’s best to plan for some quiet time as well so you can recharge your batteries. Don’t be afraid to let your loved ones know if you’re uncomfortable or if there are topics you don’t want to discuss. If all else fails, make sure you have an exit strategy in mind so you can leave.
Plan to Worry
That may sound like the opposite of a coping mechanism, but that’s not the case. Regardless of the type of anxiety disorder you’re grappling with, it’s very likely you deal with worry a lot, so it’s important to plan around it. A great way to deal with your worry is to start keeping a journal.
A worry journal can lead to decreased anxiety levels almost as soon as you start keeping one. The process is simple. You make a note of the things that worry you as they pop up during the day. At a set time each day, spend a few minutes to rate your anxiety level and come up with possible solutions to the issue. As you keep doing this, you’ll start to weed out similar concerns, and you’ll feel better knowing that each worry has a ready solution.
Control Your Travel
For some people, anxiety is centered specifically around travel. According to Healthline, keeping your anxiety in check when traveling is possible if you put all the necessary plans in place. If you know your triggers, you can avoid them or work around them.
For example, the fear of financial emergencies can be quelled if you bring an appropriate credit card or ensure you have access to extra money. Worries about leaving your home unattended can be taken care of if you hire someone to watch over it while you’re gone. It’s also helpful to know what to expect on certain travel days so be sure to do your research as the cheapest days to travel are likely to be the least busy days.
Navigating the holidays can come with a unique set of challenges that only people with anxiety truly understand. To enjoy the time with your family, make sure you establish plans to keep your anxiety under control. Even then, don’t be too hard on yourself if you need some time by yourself or the support of others to make it through. Do what’s best for you.