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How Individuals with Anxiety Can Survive the Holidays Without Stress | Guestpost By Amy Mason

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The holiday season is here, and while for many it is a time of joy and wonder, it also can cause a lot of stress, especially to those who suffer from anxiety. Traveling to and from relatives, preparing massive holiday meals, and spending a great deal of money on gifts for family and friends can cause high blood pressure, headaches and tension.

Still, you don’t have to resign yourself to a season full of stress. From staying off of social media to keeping tabs on your health with a smartwatch, here are four tips to combat the holiday stressors, enjoy your time with loved ones, and go into the New Year embracing peace and tranquility. 

#1 Detox From Social Media

There’s no doubt that social media has some benefits. People can stay in closer contact with far-flung family and friends, share details of their lives, and connect with people that they might never otherwise have met.

However, social media can cause significant problems, including an increase in anxiety and what experts call comparison stress. Often, people will share the best parts of their holidays online, including extravagant gifts or luxurious travel, and this can cause others to feel inadequate or lonely. 

Experts recommend unplugging from social media from time to time for a better quality of life. A good way to start stepping away from social media during the holiday season could mean turning off notifications on your phone or even putting your phone out of reach during a gathering or weekend. You can always return to social media when the holidays are over.

#2 Track Your Health With A Smartwatch

Exercise becomes especially important in times of stress. A workout releases endorphins and regulates your body’s fight-or-flight response, which in turn reduces symptoms of anxiety. You don’t have to stick to intense workouts to reap the benefits—as long as you’re active, even for just a few minutes a day, your mind and body will thank you.

If you don’t have time to hit up the gym every day, a smartwatch is a great way to monitor your health and track all the steps you take in a day. With a smartwatch like the Apple Watch Series, you can use its ECG and let it know if you need some help in an emergency.

If you’d prefer a different brand of smartwatches, you can look into getting a Fitbit. Fitbits keep track of calories burned, steps taken, how much sleep you get, and other indicators of physical activity. They also make a great gift – whether for yourself or a beloved friend who is wanting to get on the healthy lifestyle train.

#3 Enjoy Everything In Moderation

For many, the holidays can mean indulgence – in food, beverages, gifts, and more. Still, people who try to follow a healthy diet can wake up after the start of the new year and find that all their hard work has fallen by the wayside. Sugar, unhealthy fats, and eating irregularly can actually make your anxiety worse by negatively affecting your blood sugar levels, for instance.

UCHealth explains that while it’s good for the soul to thoroughly enjoy the holidays, it is smart to do so in moderation. A few ways to ensure that you stay healthy during the holidays include eating a smaller, fresh meal before the big holiday feast, taking small bites of more rich dishes, and pacing yourself.

Fruits, vegetables, and nuts contain antioxidants, which can help reduce your anxiety symptoms. Be sure to get enough protein and probiotics as well, which increase the production of feel-good hormones. It is entirely possible to have a great time during the holidays without stressing about your health after the fact.

#4 It’s Okay To Say No

Finally, to avoid stress during the holiday season, don’t spread yourself too thin. It is easy to make multiple commitments during the week, scheduling time with family, volunteering for charitable events, and preparing food for gatherings—and even though doing things for loved ones can bring about positive feelings all around, a completely packed schedule won’t help your anxiety. In such a busy time, it is especially important to be able to say “no” when you feel as though you are being asked to commit to something every day of the holiday season. 

While it can be difficult to say no to family and friends, there are gentle ways to explain that you have a full schedule already. Ultimately, it is important to prioritize self-care during the holiday season, and allowing plenty of time for rest and relaxation is a very big part of that. 

No matter how you plan to spend your holiday season, make sure that you prioritize your needs above all others. Anxiety can worsen this time of year due to all the stressors that come with the season, so it’s important to keep it at bay. The tips outlined above can help to make the season enjoyable, merry, and memorable for you and your loved ones.

AUTHOR BIO

Amy Mason’s mental health declined after she was in a car accident, so she started researching natural ways to reduce anxiety. Once she discovered that exercise could be the key, she returned to her high school and college passion: running, which helped improve her energy levels, concentration, and sleeping habits. She started her site, Fitness of the Mind, to help those facing physical, mental, and emotional health conditions get their health and life back on track.

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  1. yoge yoge

    The article about the “How individuals with anxiety can survive the holidays without stress” is nice. You give several information about reducing stress. Even my sister has hypertension. This information gives my sister to get reduce her stress and your 4 tips make me the confidence to reduce the stress and thanks for giving the recommended information. keep creating more articles for people, your friend yoge.

  2. Parveen Parveen

    Hello Amy,

    Your post is very helpful for me to remove stress and live healthy life. Yes, sometime it is very difficult to say no to our family. Through your post I found gentle to explain them, your schedule is already full for the day. Then we have to prioritize our work which is more important for living a stress free life. Time management is very important to avoid stress.

    I always do my planning earlier to avoid stress.

    Thank you

    Parveen

  3. Jessie Jessie

    Thank you so much for this post!  My wife and me both have anxiety, and the holidays make that even worse.  We have two kids now, as well, so we really have to try and keep our anxiety under control for their sake.  I honestly feel your suggestion on social media, and the one on saying no.  These are issues I have have to deal with a lot, especially the whole saying no thing.  It’s not easy because I don’t want to upset people.

  4. Jake Jake

    The holidays were a very stressful time for me and my family  all my life.  My mom would spend weeks preparing everything.  She would work so hard then be upset that nobody appreciates it.

    Not to mention the dishes  and expenses .

    I highly recommend keeping alcohol away.

    If possible, show your family some love and enjoy the relationships you do have because they are a blessing.

  5. Geri Geri

    These are four great tips about enjoying the holidays stress-free. You were right to place “detoxing from social media” at #1. Everyone is on social media almost 24/7. When I look around everyone is always looking at their phones on some sort of social media platform. Even young kids nowadays are so absorbed with it. The holidays should be focused on being with family and friends and I mean actually being present in the moment with people and verbally communicating with them. Families should make it a rule to not have cell phones in hand during family meals and when everyone is gathered around the tree or the fireplace. Memories shouldn’t be reserved just for social media alone.

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