This post is brought to you by Rachel Casey, AMFT.

Woo!  We all just made it through Thanksgiving, but more holidays are right around the corner. While the holiday season can be a wonderful and joyous time for some, it can also cause feelings of anxiety and/or distress for others. So, what are some symptoms of anxiety, and how do you manage it throughout the holidays? Do not worry, we are here to help!

First, let’s have a quick recap on what anxiety feels like.

*Common symptoms of anxiety: 

  • Hyperventilation/shortness of breath
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  • Feeling on edge or uneasy
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  • Racing thoughts
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  • Irritability
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  • Fatigue or restlessness
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  • Fear
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  • Sweating
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  • Heart palpitations

If you start noticing any of these symptoms, and suspect that anxiety is the root cause, it is a good idea to understand and explore what you need in the moment. Maybe it is setting boundaries with others, or practicing self-care.

Tips to help get you through the holidays: 

  • Walk away (e.g., go to the bathroom, take a walk, etc.)
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  • Take slow, deep breaths – as many as you need!
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  • Talk to someone you trust.
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  • View your anxiety as a tangible item (e.g., ball, boat, airplane, etc.) and view yourself physically pushing it away.
  • Listen to soothing music.
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  • Ground yourself by using your five senses (e.g., five things you can see, four things you can hear, three things you can touch, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste).
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  • Write all of your thoughts, feelings, and emotions in a journal.
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  • Set healthy boundaries with those around you, and use assertive communication. Remember, when you set boundaries, there is a chance that you will get some push back. So, it is important to stay consistent with the boundaries YOU choose to set.
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  • 15 minute game: Distract yourself for 15 minutes, then come back to the situation(s) that was causing you anxiety.
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  • Write a list of all your gratitudes for that day.
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  • Actually let yourself feel and express your feelings and emotions. Sometimes our anxiety worsens when we are ignoring our underlying emotions, such as sadness, anger, grief, etc.

While these are just some examples, there are many more that you can use. The fun thing about coping skills is that they are geared towards your unique self. If at any point you are feeling overwhelmed, and coping skills do not seem to be working as well as you had hoped, reach out to us! We are ALWAYS here to help. 

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*Disclaimer:  While these are common symptoms of anxiety, these symptoms may also stem from an underlying medical condition.  As always, please consult with your medical provider.

Please note that this content is for informational purposes, and not a substitute for treatment.  If you are in need of mental health treatment, please seek out a provider in your area.