An Anxious Girl’s Guide to Surviving the Holidays

Hello fellow adventurers,

It’s that wonderful time of the year: families are gathering, cookies are being baked and presents are being wrapped. It’s also a time of great anxiety and stress. Holidays tend to become hectic and family gatherings can be highly unpredictable, elevating the anxiety levels of everyone involved. I’m excited to see my family, but just thinking about and anticipating the next few days has put me into a constant state of anxiety.

There are several things I’ll be doing to combat my anxiety this Christmas. Here is “An Anxious Girl’s Guide to Surviving the Holidays”:

Bring something to keep your hands busy. When my anxiety gets bad, I start to get fidgety. This usually translates to me playing with my hair and ultimately pulling it out (this is called trichotillomania). I’ll be carrying a small amount of Play-Doh with me to family gatherings. It’s easy to conceal and very effective. An alternative would be hair ties or rubber bands, however I usually end up breaking them, thus rendering them useless.

Find an isolated spot. Wherever you are, there’s a place you can go to be alone for a few minutes. If you’re at a relative’s house: ask them before the party gets started if there’s a room you can sit in away from everyone. That way, when your anxiety becomes hard to handle, you can just slip away quietly and come back when you’re ready.

Walk away from obnoxious people. I guarantee we’re all going to encounter that one family member, friend or stranger who is either drunk or just obnoxious by nature. These people are hard to get away from because they usually have booming voices that carry their political/social/whatever nonsense throughout the room. Avoid these people like they’re the plague.

Repeat a mantra to yourself. I don’t mean, “It’s almost over,” but rather something like, “I can do this,” or “I’m doing great” or “Everything is OK.” Mantras can be quite helpful in relieving anxiety and getting you through a tough situation.

Finally, remember how awesome you are. It doesn’t matter how successful so-and-so relative is or how excited a friend is because they just got engaged. Remember that they are also flawed and could be faking it. Nobody goes to a party and complains about all of their issues, they go and they brag about what positive things have occurred.

As my great friend S.W. says, “You are your own unique person, and that in itself is amazing. People don’t need to know how much you had to push yourself just to sit down at the table and stay there. You know that you have succeeded, and in the end that’s all that matters.”

What techniques do you use to get yourselves through the holidays? Let me know!

Have a safe and happy holiday!

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