Ways to cope with festive anxiety
Anxiety during festive seasons is a real thing. The second half of the year is filled with festive fervor and celebrations. However, they come with multiple responsibilities leading to stress and anxiety. It is a proven fact that holiday parties are stressors, but they can be particularly stressful for people with social anxiety disorder. For the ones living away from home during festivals, sadness, anxiety and depression can trigger way too rapidly than in normal times. This is clinically termed as ‘festival blues’. Discussed here are a few ways to deal with anxiety during festive seasons.
Symptoms associated with festive anxiety
Symptoms associated with festive anxiety might be similar to regular anxiety, the major difference being the time during which it is felt. However, the symptoms might also differ from person to person and there might be some unique symptoms a person can associate with festive anxiety as well.
Given below are some common symptoms of anxiety as well as festive anxiety.
- Physiological symptoms like headaches, stomach aches
- Insomnia and irregular sleep patterns
- Dysfunctional eating patterns- ranging from loss of appetite to binge eating
- Increased alcohol intake
- Anxiety attacks
- Social isolation or withdrawal
- Poor self-care and hygiene
- Feeling low, helpless, and lacking motivation
Ways to cope with festive anxiety
Refrain from seeking perfection: Don’t feel the need to behave a certain way because you think the people around you want you to or expect it of you. You need to be honest with yourself. Moreover, expectations to celebrate holidays in a specific way can trigger unpleasant emotions from the past. Accepting that you may have limitations now and can modify your expectations from the past.
Plan and pace your celebrations: Planning ahead can reduce a lot of stress. Every festival includes some essential bits, like cleaning, cooking, and gifting, so make a schedule to fit all of these. It is okay to choose which celebration invitation to accept without having to feel guilty. Prioritize where you would feel comfortable attending and get comfortable with having to say no when needed. Know your capacity and avoid taking on more responsibilities than you can handle. Be realistic about what you can and cannot do rather than packing it all in.
Budget to avoid financial stress: Festivals can be a strain on your pocket if you don’t budget your expenses properly. spread out your expenses instead of focusing them in the same month. Make a budget for decorations, food, gifting, travel, etc. and start arranging these well ahead of time. It’s also crucial that you avoid temptation as much as possible to keep overspending or reckless buying sprees at bay.
Identify your support system and reach out to them: One of the most important aspects of anxiety is to identify that it is present and it is having an impact on your life. How it has been making you feel, sharing it with people you consider as your supporting crew and would willingly be there for you. Feeling isolated or misunderstood could be a barrier leading to resistance to reach out.
Try to maintain a routine: It is easy to slip into the trap of cheat days though disrupting the routine completely can feel very disorienting, be it regarding eating habits or sleep patterns. Try to keep some of the routine activities like exercising, meditating, and having a good amount of sleep. Being mindful of how the days are going to be placed can help you to set aside some time each day for self-care and relaxation.
If the mentioned symptoms have persisted for a period of time and have gotten serious, seek help by sharing it with someone you trust. Coping with the demands of festivities requires time, effort, and patience. Ignoring the need to address the concerns will just make it more stressful in the long run. Often during these times, under the festive lights and celebrations, there are financial issues, family conflicts, lack of sleep and multi-tasking—all which can take a toll on a person’s mental health. So, it is okay to take some time for yourself, acknowledge how you are feeling, accept it and take one thing at a time. It is important to remember that symptoms of stress and mental fatigue should never be ignored. Reach out to a mental health professional to help work through difficult emotions and provide with healthy coping strategies.
NOTE: The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.