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6 ways to soothe anxiety during the holidays

Do you find the holidays are overwhelming? Then this post is for you. For years I found the holidays incredibly overwhelming. I would often overcommit myself and try to be everywhere for everyone yet never acknowledge my own needs. This would often lead me to rush through the holidays and I would finish them feeling more burnt out than when I started.

Anxiety isn't something we should try and suppress or push away, nor should we let it define us as it comes up in our lives. It's all about learning how to meet in with a gentle curiosity and moving through those emotions rather than away from them.

We may not be able to control when anxiety shows up in our lives, but we can choose how we respond to it and how we move through it. Anxiety may show up for you over the holidays, and it can be helpful to have tools available and easy to access any time and anywhere you may begin to feel overwhelmed.

Let's outline 6 ways to soothe anxiety during the holidays.

1.Take a moment away - A powerful way to navigate anxiety during the holidays is to take a step away from the sensory overload of events. Often times the loud noises and people talking or music can become really overwhelming. Taking a moment to run to the bathroom or step outside can be a great way to practice grounding and reset yourself. If you're unable to step away, it may be helpful to bring ear plugs, essential oils, or something that engages your senses that you can use anywhere.

2. Choose an affirmation to remind yourself of while you're out - Sometimes we may not be able to step away, but having a gentle reminder there for us in the difficult moments can be really helpful. If choose just one doesn't work for you, I would make a list or collage of affirmations you can keep on your phone and view anywhere to ground yourself. You could even record a voice message for yourself that you can refer back to at any time to help ground yourself in the moment. Sometimes that little reminder can make all the difference.

3. Schedule worry time - If you know ahead of time when an event is coming up, try scheduling worry time the days leading up to the event or the day of. This can be allocated time for you to write out what is on your mind. If anything pops up during an event you can remind yourself of that time you have to think about it, and event write it down briefly on your phone if it helps your mind process those thoughts. By doing this before an event you're better able to look at these thoughts objectively and reflect on how accurate they really are (if they are anxious thoughts they are probably not accurate at all!) and then process BEFORE the event itself.

4. Plan ahead - Now this doesn't apply to every event because there are always things that don't go as planned and thats okay, but there are a few factors you can think about ahead of time. If you're buying tickets to an event, you may want to consider peak and non peak time to reflect on what may be best for you. For me - I will often plan to shop at non peak times (normally later in the night before the malls close) to avoid huge crowds. Its not about avoiding anxiety, because anxiety may still be present if you plan ahead, but it can be about making yourself more comfortable in those moments the best you can.

5. Be mindful of how full your schedule is - often it can be easy to say yes to many different events, but it may be valuable to evaluate how full your schedule already is. One of the most powerful statements I've learned through my own healing journey is 'let me check and get back to you'. I used to be someone who said yes to EVERYTHING and it would often leave me with no time for myself. Over the years, I have started to respond with let me check so I can then go back later and objectively evaluate if that works in my schedule and MORE IMPORTANTLY if I have the bandwidth for that right now. I really want to emphasize that it truly doesn't matter how busy your schedule is if you are feeling burnt out and don't have the bandwidth. You should never feel guilty for putting your needs first and giving yourself the rest and space you need.

6. Embrace your imperfections - So much anxiety around the holidays comes from pressures we place on ourselves that no one else expects from us. Be mindful of how much pressure you're putting on yourself to get the holidays 'perfect' or find the 'perfect' gift or make the 'perfect' pie or be the 'perfect' guest. Perfection is an illusion that can be incredibly draining. Be mindful of the voice telling you what you HAVE to do or NEED to do, and learn to embrace what you truly WANT to do. Learning to embrace our imperfections helps us to heal and alleviates so much pressure we put on ourselves that often leads to increased levels of anxiety too.

Soothing anxiety over the holidays comes in many forms. A few of these strategies can help you in the moment, but many of them are meant to create lasting change to help reduce stressors in your life that may be leading to increased levels of anxiety and stress.

If you'd like more guidance in promoting balance of the holidays, check out my 10 day nervous system reset guide and join a small community of people prioritizing time for themselves this holiday season.

Wishing you a peaceful holiday season.

Sending love, Carly

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