• Interval Health

For Parents -- It's The Most ANXIOUS Time Of The Year


The holiday season is finally here. While that means excitement and fun for a lot of people, it can also be a time of year that’s incredibly stressful and overwhelming.



Between family get-togethers, work events, financial burdens, and the pressure of “making the season bright,” the holidays aren’t exactly as calming as Norman Rockwell made them out to be.


If you’re already struggling with anxiety, this is time of year that can add to it.

How, exactly, do the holidays contribute to anxiety? You may not realize it as you’re going through it, but it’s important to know specific areas that can trigger your symptoms. Let’s talk about some of them, and what you can do to manage your anxiety this season.

Noise All Around

People tend to picture the holidays as a time of peace. While it has its moments, much of the season can be quite chaotic.


Think about your family get-togethers or holiday parties at work. It’s constant chatter, background music, the noise of dinnerware, and even kids running around. Experiencing an hour or two of that noise might not be so bad.


But, having to do it again and again over the season isn’t only draining, it can make your anxiety worse.


It’s important to find some peace and quiet when you’re dealing with anxiety. Too much noise can fuel your fears and worries, and make it hard to stay focused on the present. Find a few moments to practice mindfulness and meditation, even if that means finding a quiet room at a party to breathe deeply and re-center yourself.

Tense Family Dynamics

Even if you get along with your family, for the most part, tensions can always rise to the surface over the holidays. When you’re around those people more often, especially making conversation, it’s easy to find yourself triggered by what they might have to say.


Whether it’s a “hot-button” issue or a family member who has caused you pain in the past, being around certain people can be difficult and worrisome.


The best thing you can do in those situations is set boundaries. It’s okay to say no to certain things, and it’s okay to limit your conversations with people you know are triggering. You might also want to consider talking to certain family members about your anxiety, and how things make you feel. Having a support system can make a big difference. They’ll look out for you during family gatherings, and can make it easier for you to keep your boundaries.

You’re Thrown Off Schedule

Everyone benefits from routine, both kids and adults. When you have anxiety, your normal, daily routine is even more important. It provides a sense of security and comfort.


Unfortunately, the holidays can throw off that routine quite a bit. You might have to wake up earlier to get things done. Maybe you’re staying out later because of parties or other events. Or, maybe you’re traveling and your normal, everyday lifestyle has been completely thrown off.


Whatever the case, a lack of routine is often a big source of stress and worry. You might not be able to change your situation. But, to manage your symptoms, try focusing on the things you can control. No matter how small they are, that kind of focus can give you the sense of security you need.

The holidays leave many feeling emotionally exhausted and raw. If you are struggling after the holidays, therapy might help you make sense of the family dynamics that have been tripping you up year after year. This just might be the ideal time for you to make some sense of what you are experiencing and feeling. I offer a complimentary phone consultation to all potential clients. To schedule yours in a matter of seconds, please check here.


To learn more about how counseling can help you manage run away thoughts that fuel anxiety, please click here.

 

Jennifer Perera is a mom of two boys, a spouse and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She has a private practice in Springfield, New Jersey and also sees clients throughout New Jersey via telehealth. Her passion is helping new moms and dads find their joy again in parenthood through individual and couples counseling. She also runs workshops for new parents, teaching them techniques and strategies to help them have a stronger relationship - built to thrive during the parenthood years. Jennifer specializes in working with parents during the prenatal and postpartum periods and those coping with grief or loss issues surrounding pregnancy.