If you know me personally or have followed my posts here for any length of time, you know that I have been diagnosed with severe anxiety. For me, that means constant management of stressors to remain healthy. And it goes without saying that the holiday season is a source of stress for many reasons for many people. Unfortunately, I am not excluded from this group in the least.
Over the past five years, I have found some interesting ways to avoid triggers and to maintain over all wellness during the holiday season.
The Three Gift Rule:
We have three kids, and shopping can become expensive and stressful if we let it. We limit ourselves to one big gift and two medium gifts per child. The kids have adapted to this over the last three or four years, and it has really helped with the pressure of the holidays. The kids are always super grateful, and it allows us to spend more time focusing on the reason for the season and the love we share. We replaced the gift extravaganza of Christmas and now we do more on each of their birthdays (which they LOVE!)
An Invitation is NOT an Obligation:
People mean well when they invite you to holiday parties and events, but sometimes they fail to realize how hard this can be for any person to manage, especially one struggling with anxiety or depression. In my family, December is rest month. We limit all obligations, regardless if it is work related, extra-curricular or even extended family. Remember, just because you were invited doesn’t mean you are obligated to go. You can be kind and DECLINE!
Take your Meds!
I know this may not apply to everyone in the traditional sense, but trust me it applies to all in some way. For me, I stay on top of all of my medication to manage my health even more rigorously during this time. I don’t skip any doses or miss appointments with my doctor (if they are scheduled). For others, this may mean exercising regularly, setting time to rest, or taking over the counter vitamins.
Live in the Moments:
Make the moments count. Whatever that means for you and yours, DO IT! Remind yourself to breathe. Make the memories and be a part of them. The instant you feel overwhelmed, give yourself permission to stop and slow down. The holiday season can be a great opportunity to reset, restore and rejuvenate.
Remember, this time of year should be special for everyone in your family and that includes YOU!