Making It Through The Holiday Season When You Have Anxiety: 7 Hacks

20 Dec 2019

It’s Christmaaaaaaassss! The holiday season is finally upon us, and joy is all around. Whilst we are all snoodled up in the Ditch the Label offices with hot chocolate and gigantic scarves, we know that this time of year can be a bit tough on those of us who struggle with anxiety. The prospect of a lot of food, a lot of people, too much time spent inside and a lot of pressure to socialise can be overwhelming for any one of us at this time of year, but even more so if your mental wellbeing has taken a turn for the worse this winter. That’s why we’ve got these 7 hacks – so you can make it through the holiday season relatively easily. You got this, don’t worry. 

1) Take time for you 

The idea of the holiday season can be magical, but it can also be really overwhelming thinking about everything that needs to be done and all the socialising to be had. But, the general craziness that arrives on December 1st doesn’t have to break you, if you take a bit of time and space to chill. Try to plan in a bit of time for some peace and quiet during the crazier days if you can. If you don’t think that time is going to let you watch a whole crimbo movie on your own, plan in a gentle walk or add some time for a relaxing coffee into your shopping. 

2) Try not to put too much pressure on yourself 

It is the season of pressure. There’s no denying that. Hanging out with everyone, eating all the food as far as the eye can see, spending money you don’t have; it’s undeniable that the festive season is more than just a little bit stressful. We know it can be a lot easier said than done to not put too much pressure on yourself at this time of year, but it’s important to remember that it’s just a short period, and if you end up not doing everything, that is ok. There is a whole new year just around the corner for you to totally own.  

3) Get some chill dates in the diary with your pals 

Anxiety may be rearing its ugly head, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a little bit of festive fun with your pals. It might just mean you have a little bit of adapted fun. Instead of heading out to the shops or for a meal, get in your comfiest joggers, grab a selection box and throw on your favourite Christmas movie at home. It might not be the festive fun you usually have, but you’ll be together and that’s what’s most important right now. 

4) Speak to your family before any big celebrations

If your family are the sort for going big over the festive period, try and sit one of them down and have a little chat about how you are feeling a little bit overwhelmed. Check out this list of ideas for starting the conversation around mental health with someone in your life to make it a little easier. Remember though, it doesn’t have to be a super heavy chat. Just mention that you might be a little out of sorts or in need of some space over the holiday season. 

5) Make a plan and try to stick to it 

Planning is great. No seriously. We aren’t saying you should account for every second of every day because that’s probably going to make you feel even more pressure, but adding a loose structure to your free time can give you some stuff to look forward to whilst making sure you also get the important bits done. Try mapping out your day as a loose list of stuff that needs to be finished but that you can do in any order and try to tick it all off before you get in bed. 

6) Breathe

Four seconds in. Hold it. Four seconds out. And again. 

If you start feeling a bit panicky at the prospect of the holidays, take some time to practice a few breathing exercises that can help you when the panic really starts to take hold. Similarly, try a few guided meditations on YouTube before you go to bed to help you get in a chill headspace before you go to sleep. 

7) Remember; it’s a short period of time and you will be ok

It seems like a lot, but it’s important to remember that it is only once a year and it will all be over and you’ll be back in a comfortable routine before you know it. If you don’t get everything done this year that was on your list, try not to stress too much about it. It will come around again next year, and again after that. If your 2019 festive period isn’t everything you thought it would be, give yourself a bit of a break, think about how much you did actually get done, and just get ready to start again in 2020. You got this. We got you. 

Need to talk to someone? You can get confidential support and advice from one of our trained Digital Mentors here

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