Social Support Can Help Holiday Anxiety
Here we are in the second holiday season of the pandemic. Even though things have changed over the past year, there are still many areas of uncertainty and things that are anxiety-provoking. Dealing with anxiety during the holidays becomes vital, and particularly during these uncertain times.
For myself, anxiety tends to increase during the holidays for several reasons. Over the past couple of years, my family has dealt with many changes, and with those changes, I have become very aware of times that I've felt very anxious. So, this holiday season, I have found myself being more vigilant of my anxiety symptoms. I am more aware of what I am feeling and how things are affecting me. One of the things I have found to be so important is to have a strong support system.
Why Social Support Helps Anxiety During the Holidays
Many times, I think the term social support tends to bring about ideas that this pertains to being social and being around others in social settings. But even though social support can include that, it is so much more than that. Social support refers to those in your support system, those around you whom you can lean on when you need assistance, and those who can help you cope with stress.
This has become so important during these times, and it becomes critical around the holidays, as there tend to be unique stressors that contribute to feelings of being overwhelmed. I often feel anxious around the holidays, and sometimes it is difficult to pinpoint what has triggered those feelings. But because of this, I also know it is important to lean on my support system, even if it is simply to express what I am feeling so that I don't feel so overwhelmed.
Talking to someone you trust is helpful to express your feelings, to identify your feelings, and sometimes for helping you to put those feelings into perspective. Additionally, this can be helpful for problem-solving when you are dealing with challenges. Your support system should be a person or persons you can trust who will listen to you and allow you to express yourself without judgment and with care and compassion.
But even more so, during the holidays, leaning on your support system allows you to sustain and maintain positive connections with others, which can help relieve stress. Maybe people in y our life help distract you from things that have triggered your anxiety, or maybe they help you to stay grounded. Maybe they help you to focus on the moment instead of the past or future. Or maybe they simply bring about positive feelings that help to calm your anxiety. In any case, maintaining connections with others is beneficial, especially during the holidays.
During this pandemic, and even if the holidays do not look exactly like they used to, there are still ways to stay connected with others. This includes: taking advantage of technology, making it a priority to spend time with loved ones, and finding ways to interact with others.
As someone who is quite introverted and can find it challenging to engage with others, I have found that being aware of the benefit of maintaining social connections is critical for me in making sure that I do so. Therefore, it is important that I am self-aware of my anxiety -- especially during this time of year -- and that I reach out for help when I know I am feeling particularly anxious. Sometimes, simply being around others is helpful enough to pull me from my worries. Share in the comments below any strategies you find are helpful for using the support of others to help with your anxiety during the holiday season.
Bermio-Gonzalez, R. (2021, November 23). Social Support Can Help Holiday Anxiety, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2021, November 27 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/treatinganxiety/2021/11/social-support-can-help-holiday-anxiety
Author: Rizza Bermio-Gonzalez
There is so much to be said for having a support system in place, especially during times when we know we might really need them! One of the things that's so beautiful about allowing ourselves to receive support is that we open ourselves up to connections and relationships on a much deeper level. This is truly something to be grateful for.