It may be the most wonderful time of the year, but it can also be a very stressful time — especially for women. If the extra demands on your time aren’t challenging enough, the season also probably stretches the limits of your bank account, too.
While you can’t realistically get rid of the holidays altogether — and honestly, you probably don’t want to — you can take steps to manage your anxiety. Dr. Ruchir Thakkar of Cermak Immediate Care explains five simple ways to keep your anxiety in check this holiday season so you can be free to find moments of enjoyment.
The symptoms of anxiety
If you’ve ever had an anxiety attack, you probably sensed that something was really wrong. Anxiety can have major effects on your physical health, including:
- Rapid heart rate
- Digestive problems
- Feeling nervous or restless
- Having a sense of dread or panic
- Increased sweating
- Rapid breathing
- Feeling lethargic or weak
- Trembling, especially in your hands
You may also have other symptoms, such as not having as much interest in things you once enjoyed or having trouble concentrating.
Maintain your normal routines
We understand that it can be extremely difficult to maintain your normal routines, especially during the holiday season. Most people have extra activities, including shopping, attending school programs, and going to work parties.
Yet, even during this busy time of year, it’s important to maintain some sense of normalcy. Try to stick to your normal routines as much as possible, including maintaining adequate sleep (7-8 hours a night) and exercising. You’ll be better able to fight off anxiety if you’re getting regular exercise and enough sleep.
Women in particular take on a lot of unnecessary responsibility at the holidays. You may put added pressure on yourself by thinking you need to make the special cookies you make every year or feeling like you’re solely responsible for making sure everything looks festive.
Share the responsibility for the holidays to help ease some of your anxiety. Not only will it be more special to share the responsibilities with someone and make them feel trusted, but it’ll also lighten your load. Win-win.
Scale back your expectations
Many people simply try to do too much during the holidays, but you can learn to set boundaries around your time to protect it. Do you really need to participate in that optional white-elephant party with your neighbors? Or could you postpone volunteering for a time after the holidays, when your schedule will be easier?
Many people try to have the perfect Pinterest holiday but don’t realize that a lot of this pressure is self-imposed. Think about your priorities and about what truly matters for your holiday celebrations, and let go of the rest. Just because you decide to skip them this year doesn’t mean you’ll always do the same. Do what you can, and try to let go of the rest.
Take time for self-care
As challenging as it may be, you need to take time for yourself, too. Maybe you would feel better if you just took a night off of holiday preparations and spent an evening in your pajamas, drinking cocoa and watching a holiday movie.
In addition, don’t skip out on spending time around friends and doing things you enjoy. One thing many people enjoy is simply going for a daily walk and enjoying the fresh air.
Don’t ignore your diet
Of course, there are lots of delicious treats everywhere this time of year. We wouldn’t suggest you say no to all of them, but you still want to try to seek balance. You can have the treats you want, but it’s still important to follow an overall healthy and varied diet. Make sure you get lots of lean proteins and fresh fruits and vegetables, and drink a lot of water, too.
Your blood sugar can get out of balance by eating too many sweets, which will generally make you feel unwell, even if you’re not diabetic.
If you’ve tried all of the above and you’re still feeling anxious or down, know that this is normal for many people. You don’t have to go it alone and try to tough it out.
We can provide support, as needed, so make an appointment to come in and see Dr. Ruchir Thakkar at Cermak Immediate Care by clicking here.