Managing Anxiety During the Holidays

The holiday season is often accompanied with stress and pressure. There are responsibilities that involve plans with loved ones, shopping, cleaning, and entertaining on top of maintaining your usual routine. Holiday anxiety happens commonly, and it can pose a mental health issue if left unchecked.

close up photograph of two person holding sparklers

“The holidays are a wonderful time, but they can quickly become overwhelming if you neglect to plan ahead.”

 Dr. Daisy Sutherland

signs of anxiety during the holiday season

  1. Excessive worries that won’t go away
  2. Physical anxiety symptoms (rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, sweating, upset stomach, etc.)
  3. Social isolation or withdrawal
  4. Panic attacks
  5. Trouble sleeping or insomnia
  6. Feeling hopeless and helpless when under distress
  7. Change in appearance regarding less attention to self-care or hygiene

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It is important to have healthy holiday boundaries if you know you are someone who often experiences holiday anxiety. The following tips are a guide to healthy holiday boundaries that you may try to establish this season.

Guide to Healthy Holiday Boundaries

  • Be Empowered to Skip. Go Late. Leave Early or Drive Your Own Car to Holiday Parties
  • Ask For What You Want or Need
  • Say “No” Without Guilt
  • Say “Yes” Because You Want To, Not Out of Obligation or To Please Others
  • Let Go of Trying to Control What Other People Eat, Drink, Wear, Say, or Do
  • Express Your Feelings in An Assertive And Respectful Way; Avoid Passive-Aggressive Behavior
  • Take Care of Your Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual Needs
  • Spend Time with Supportive People
  • Take Responsibility for Your Own Happiness and Don’t Be a Martyr
  • Don’t Make Excuses for Yourself or Anyone Else
  • Act According to Your Own Values and Beliefs

Takeaway message…

Happy Holidays and I hope all of you have a Happy New Year!

About the Writer…

Jamaica Okech is a current Masters student studying Social Work at the University of Texas at Arlington. As a native Texan and member of the Black community she has a passion for finding ways to reduce harm in the lives of those in need. Jamaica is inspired to be in the mental health/counseling field due to the gaps she has witnessed in the treatment of historically marginalized communities.

As an aspiring clinician, Jamaica believes in the importance of therapy as a helpful tool to support individuals in their healing and self discovery journeys. In her therapeutic approach, she provides an unbiased safe space for her client to grow at their own pace. She provides support by prioritizing their wellness through trauma informed care,  empowerment, and personalized treatment.

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