Holidays and Anxiety

Many of us look forward to winter break and the holidays. Maybe we get to spend time with family or friends – or we simply enjoy the relief of no deadlines and less work. For some of us though, the holidays can be anxiety-provoking. Anxiety during the holidays can vary – it can look like being worried about being social, giving gifts, or relationships. It can also look like having unrealistic expectations about holiday events or what you will accomplish over winter break. Anxiety involves unprompted feelings of nervousness, apprehension or fear, which is different from stress. Anxiety about one thing can impact your ability to function well in other areas of your life. Anxiety takes you out of the present moment.

What can you do to manage anxiety during the holidays?

  1. Prepare yourself. How were the holidays for you last year? What would you like to be different this year? If you felt over-taxed with social events last year, maybe try turning down invitations to events this year.
  2. Create a schedule. With winter quarter over, it might be hard to find a routine outside of classes. Start small with your morning routine. Maybe you make coffee, have breakfast, and then read the news. Having a set routine in the morning can ease anxiety for the rest of the day.
  3. Reminders. If you are having anxious thoughts, try to remind yourself that winter break is a time for you to take care of you. Attempt to identify your specific concerns and how you can realistically address them. Take pressure off of yourself and remind yourself to have realistic expectations about holiday events.

The holidays can be fun, and the holidays can be hard. If you’re having a difficult time managing anxiety or other feelings over the holidays, reach out to the Counseling Center or call the 24-hour Crisis Line at (206) 461-3222 to talk to someone.

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