For some people, the holidays are really "the best time of year", but for others they are anything but. Stressors can include fear of travel or pressure to drink.
Fortunately, it has become more acceptable to talk about these challenges during the holidays and throughout the year. Activists, celebrities and everyday people are increasingly sharing their struggles, which has reduced the mental health stigma.
Whether you are nervous about flying or staying sober at a vacation event, there are concrete ways to manage those emotions. Here are some techniques for dealing with stress and anxiety arising from the usual holiday season scenarios:
If you need to worry about traveling …
If you travel by public transport during the holidays , long queues and stowing seats are usually required. and short minds. The chaos can cause a lot of panic or even panic attacks.
Jeff Baker, a therapist, pedagogue and mental health activist, says a technique called grounding can help restore your sense of reality. For example, the coloring of a train ride shifts the focus to what lies ahead.
"This can help you get to places that are very busy and chaotic, such as airports and train stations, where you can easily overstimulate and panic," he says.
If the color scheme does not sound reassuring, relax on your own body. Baker recommends the use of the emotional freedom technique, in which the meridian points on your body, eg. B. the front of your eyebrow and under the nose, are touched. (While EFT in a clinical setting is promising for reducing anxiety, the technique is still considered an alternative approach to reducing stress.
Another technique to consider is called progressive muscle relaxation, it can help tension in your body, which in turn relaxes your mind, relax the muscle groups and relax with each breath, starting at one end of the body and moving up or down, you can find audio recordings of this technique online and more Learn how effective it is by visiting the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.
If you stay sober …
Not everyone can drink in a social environment, either because he prefers to drink recovering or taking medication, you may be pregnant, but you do not want to
"For people eager to maintain sobriety, it's important to know that the holidays are just like any other day," says Baker. "We as a society have given particular importance to holidays on these days and set certain traditions, but they come and go like any other day, your preference not to drink or your recovery routine should not change."
Prepare a statement so you will not be surprised. B. "I take medication, I'm a proven driver or I do not drink anymore."
"I think one of the biggest fears for those who are not drinking or recovering is the explanation they have to give and may be fired, so it is important to anticipate and prepare for possible peer pressure "Baker says. 1
Baker says false statements are not necessarily lies because they are not meant to harm or manipulate people. They should protect themselves.
When you host a work event, remind your employees that it's not OK to pressure people who do not drink. Whether it's a professional or private party, offer non-alcoholic alternative drinks and activities that are not focused on drinking.
If you're home for the holidays, it may be a good idea to attend a group meeting with the Recovery Group, read a book about recovery, or explain a abstinence plan, says Baker.
If you are afraid of the dining table …
Holiday traditions focus on food, which can cause worrying emotions for some people, whether they have an eating disorder, trying to diet or high Expectations of what or how much they will eat. Julie Groveman, a clinical psychologist in New York City, says that if someone is scared of eating, they can practice a mindful exercise. This means using the senses by slowing down to chew, feel the texture of the food and smell flavors.
"You want to pay attention to your experience so that you will be introduced to the moment."
In general, the use of your senses is an effective way to relieve stress because it brings you out of your head and into the present moment.
"The whole idea is that [anxiety] is actually sometimes a false alarm system that is overly sensitive in order to not feel the situation safe …" says Groveman. "You want to pay attention to your experience, so that you are put in the moment."
You could also be afraid of the dining table for family reasons. The holidays often bring intense political discussions and other issues that trigger conflicts. At least most people have a family member they can not stand. Baker suggests setting a limit by determining how long a family visit will last, and if possible, controlling the conversation in a positive way.
When you feel alone …
Not everyone can spend their holidays with their families, and that can lead to loneliness or sadness. That's understandable, but do not try to roll.
"Just because it was a certain way in the past, or just looking social media or movies, does not mean it has to be that way for you," says Groveman.  Being away from family and friends can help you enjoy time alone and enjoy your own company. Try cooking a new recipe or volunteering. Groveman says helping others is a great way to get out of your mind and into the present moment.
Groveman also recommends a technique called Intention Setting that refocuses the mind. Write down what you want to get out of an experience, including the feeling you want, whether comfort, relaxation or connection. Write down the words that come to your mind and use them as a guide to create a meaningful experience for you.
A "gratitude" list also helps. Groveman says if you focus on what you have compared to what you miss, you can put yourself in the right perspective. She notices that nothing is too small to add to the list.
If you're worried about an upcoming event …
Groveman recommends self-willed behaviors that involve your senses, such as meditating, bathing, listening to music, or lavender oil on your wrists.
"I like to think of fear as an energy, and often it simply hangs in your body," says Groveman. "Something like exercise, even if you just take a brisk walk, helps pull it through."
Groveman suggests carrying a small object that makes you feel calm or safe, like a crystal or a pet image. Holding an object in your hand can help you to be in the moment of fear.
Mental illnesses do not break during the holidays. The diagnosis of people does not go away just because it should be a happy time of the year. Nobody should feel guilty when fighting on vacation. They need love and support, not shame and negativity.
– Buddy Project (@ProjectBuddy) November 22, 2018
You can also repeat a mantra that you say yourself when you feel anxious. but it should be something that you really believe in. Examples are "This feeling will pass away" and "I have survived this feeling before." Groveman says repeating some sort of coping statement helps manage anxiety.
"Many times with fear, it's so scary to be scared, and it's almost like a vicious circle," says Groveman.
It is important that you have the right coping skills to deal with these experiences.
If you want to speak with someone or have suicidal thoughts, send an SMS to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1- on. 800-273-8255. If you are based in the UK or in the ROI, call Samaritans at 116 123. For international resources, this list is a good starting point.