5 Ways to Cope with Holiday Anxiety and Stress

While the holidays often bring feelings of joy, cheer and love, for many, the holidays may also trigger some negative emotions such as depression, anxiety and stress. On top of that, navigating the holidays during a global pandemic, now that is a different story altogether.

Here are five tips to help you keep your peace of mind and cope with holiday anxiety and stress:

  1. Be kind to yourself. Often, people reserve kindness, empathy and understanding for everyone but themselves. Be kind to yourself this holiday season. When you find yourself engaging in negative self-talk or beating yourself up, catch your inner critic and think like a friend. Separate the inner critic from yourself and tell it to go away. Speak to yourself as a friend would speak to you, with kind, compassionate words.

  2. Set boundaries. Saying “yes” when you really want to say “no” can lead to burnout and leave you feeling overwhelmed and even resentful. Protect your time and energy and check in with yourself. What do you need right now? Time alone? More sleep? Put your priorities, wants and needs first before others.

  3. Celebrate the “small” victories. Depression, anxiety and stress can make even the most “simple” tasks feel like moving mountains. Celebrate the “small” victories you achieve by being your own cheerleader. Got out of bed today and got dressed? Bravo! Did that chore/errand you’ve been putting off? Great work! Tidied up the house? Keep going! Make a list of things you accomplished in a day. Then in the past week. Read back the list to yourself and appreciate the accomplishments and work that you’re putting in.

  4. Let go of expectations. “Aren’t I supposed to be happy? It’s the holidays! Why do I feel so depressed?” “Why does everyone else seem happy except for me?” As Theodore Roosevelt once said, “comparison is the thief of joy.” Especially due to social media, people compare their lives to those of their friends, family and even strangers! They wonder why their lives don’t look like the photos they see online, when in reality, more than often than not, what they are seeing has been carefully crafted, curated, filtered and altered. Expectations of how you should be living, where you should be, what your family should look like, how much money you have, etc. only sets you up for disappointment when your expectations don’t match your reality. Let go of unrealistic expectations by first being aware of them and by expressing acceptance and gratitude for where you are and how far you have come in your journey.

  5. Reach out for help. Sometimes, feelings of depression, anxiety and stress may be too overwhelming to handle alone. Reach out to friends and family for support. If you find that friends and family aren’t helpful, then consider reaching out to a professional to help you get through this stressful time.

Remember, emotions and feelings are temporary. With the proper awareness, knowledge and skills, negative emotions can be properly managed so that they can pass and you can move forward.

GUTS OC is offering therapy services both in-person and remotely. If you’re struggling with managing depression, anxiety or stress during this time, we are here to help. Contact us so we can provide you with the support you need.


About GUTS OC:

We combine mental health services and state-of-the-art technology to help our patients obtain long-term results faster. Our specialties include therapy, micro current neurofeedback and life coaching. Our evidence-based approach has helped thousands of individuals, couples and families who have sought our help over the past 22 years. Our trained specialists are committed to educating & empowering our patients with the skills and mindset to live successful, happy lives.

GUTS OC is based in Tustin, CA but provides services to all of Orange County through in-person sessions and/or virtual therapy sessions via phone, chat or video.

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