How to Survive the Holidays with Anxiety and Depression
At this time of the year, I usually look forward to the holidays. But there are some years when my holiday spirit seems nonexistent. So far this holiday season, my anxiety and depression have been getting worse. Here are some ways I noticed that I am struggling with my mental health and what I plan on doing about it this month.
3 Signs I Struggle with Holiday Anxiety and Depression
- In the morning, I dread being around people. My anxiety is at its highest when I anticipate what the day will bring. Working in retail around the holidays is stressful. I picture the checkout line going out the door and customers yelling at the employees for not having certain items. While some of the days are hard, they are rarely as difficult as I think they will be. Some days, a lot of customers are pleasant. It's mostly the anticipation that stresses me out.
- I sleep a lot during the day. Sleeping feels good until I realize that half of my day is gone. Some days, I plan on going to the gym, writing an article, and playing with my dogs. When I don't do any of those things, it is because I sleep too much. Sometimes sleeping is warranted by exhaustion after work. But when it happens for prolonged periods, it makes it difficult to enjoy my life. Thus, it makes my depression worse.
- I count down the days until the holidays are over. While many people count down the days until Christmas, I count down the days until they are over. When this happens, I feel guilty because I don't want to ruin anyone else's holiday spirit. So while they enjoy Christmas caroling, I isolate myself in my room and fall asleep.
4 Things I Will Do to Take Care of Myself This Month
- I will set simple goals. Part of the reason I dread the holiday season is that I have too much time to think about what could go wrong. By setting goals, I will spend more time focusing on what to accomplish this month. For instance, I would like to work out, publish stories, and hang out with loved ones three times per week. I am already looking forward to working toward these goals.
- I will journal every day. One of the best things about journaling is that it helps me process and solve my issues. By doing it every day, I will see patterns for my triggers and behaviors. I will spend at least 15 minutes journaling every day. I will include positive experiences and moments of gratitude. I will also write about a positive holiday memory.
- I will attend therapy sessions every week. I recently started seeing a new therapist. So far, she has been very kind and helpful. She validates my feelings while helping me see things from different perspectives. She helps me set and keep realistic goals. Talking to her every week will help me learn how to manage anxiety and depression symptoms better.
- I will meditate with autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) stimuli. When I am stressed out, I enjoy listening to ASMR sounds. Different sounds and triggers stimulate emotions like relaxation and pleasure. Calming sounds like ocean waves and whispers relax me. My favorite ASMR audio includes positive affirmations, as they reduce both anxiety and depression. I will make an ASMR playlist specifically for holiday anxiety and listen to it for at least half an hour every day.
Lueck, M. (2022, November 28). How to Survive the Holidays with Anxiety and Depression, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, January 27 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/toughtimes/2022/11/how-to-survive-the-holidays-with-anxiety-and-depression