According to a poll by the American Psychiatric Association, 41% of Americans say their level of stress and anxiety increases around the holidays rather than decreases. This rise in stress and anxiety is likely due to a variety of factors including significant travel around the holidays, financial stress, increase in time spent with large groups of family and friends, and much more. With this in mind we have compiled a list of 10 ways to reduce anxiety around the holidays so that you can spend more time remembering the joy of the holiday season.
1. Mindful Breathing Techniques
During the holidays, anxiety can often feel overwhelming. A simple yet effective way to manage these moments is through mindful breathing techniques. Box breathing, for example, involves breathing in for four counts, holding for four counts, exhaling for four counts, and then waiting for another four before repeating the cycle. This method not only helps in calming the mind but also brings your focus back to the present moment, reducing immediate stress.
2. Establishing a Routine
The holiday season often disrupts our daily routines, which can escalate anxiety. Establishing and adhering to a consistent routine can instill a sense of normalcy and control. This might include specific times for waking up, meals, exercise, and relaxation. Integrating wellness habits like meditation or morning stretches into this routine can further enhance your mental well-being.
3. Nature Therapy
Spending time in nature is a therapeutic way to combat holiday stress. The tranquility of natural surroundings has a proven calming effect on the mind. Activities like taking a walk in a nearby park, engaging in gardening, or simply sitting outdoors can significantly improve mood and reduce feelings of anxiety. Consider even taking a walk after a holiday meal or event to decompress and boost metabolism after a large meal!
4. Digital Detox
In today’s digital age, constant connectivity can add to our stress levels. Allocating specific times to unplug from digital devices, especially social media, can be incredibly beneficial for mental health. This digital detox allows for a break from the incessant flow of information and provides an opportunity to engage in more calming activities or face-to-face interactions.
5. Gratitude Journaling
Focusing on gratitude can significantly shift your perspective and reduce feelings of anxiety. Gratitude journaling involves regularly writing down things for which you’re thankful. This practice encourages positive thinking and helps in recognizing the good in your life, offering a respite from negative holiday stressors.
6. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
Offered at our wellness center, Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) is a state-of-the-art treatment that involves breathing pure oxygen in a pressurized room or chamber. HBOT has been shown to enhance healing, improve brain function, and reduce inflammation, which can be beneficial in managing stress and anxiety.
7. Theta Chamber Sessions
Another advanced therapy we offer is the Theta Chamber. This technology is designed to promote deep relaxation and mental clarity. It works by synchronizing brain waves to a theta state, a deep meditative state known for inducing calm and reducing stress. These sessions can be a powerful tool for those looking to manage holiday anxiety more effectively.
8. Yoga and Gentle Exercise
Engaging in yoga or other forms of gentle exercise is an excellent way to manage stress. These activities not only improve physical health but also promote mental relaxation. For beginners, many online classes or resources are available that guide you through basic yoga poses or low-impact exercises, making it easy to start from the comfort of your home.
9. Healthy Diet Tips
Maintaining a balanced diet is crucial, especially during the holidays when there’s a temptation to indulge in unhealthy foods. Eating nutritious meals, staying hydrated, and limiting the intake of sugars and processed foods can have a positive impact on your mood and energy levels. A healthy diet supports overall well-being, helping to reduce anxiety and stress.
10. Functional Medicine Consultation
Though the holidays are filled with things to do, consider taking a step back and focusing on your own wellness by scheduling a free functional medicine consultation where we will take a deep dive into your health and start to work towards the root of your anxiety. After a comprehensive functional medicine work up we will determine the best course of action for managing your anxiety both during the holidays and after.
Anxiety often affects individuals year round but can peak around the holidays; our best recommendation is to make sure to take the time to check in with yourself. Remember that it is okay to not always feel amazing and joyful around the holidays, but also know that there are ways to bring back the joy and reduce anxiety.
If you need help getting to the root cause of your anxiety around the holidays or throughout the year, our team at Michigan Health and Wellness Center is here to help! You can schedule a free consultation online to find out how functional medicine can help you reduce anxiety and manage stress.
“Nationwide Holiday Mental Health Poll.” Psychiatry.org, American Psychiatric Association, 2 Dec. 2021, www.psychiatry.org/news-room/news-releases/nationwide-holiday-mental-health-poll-reveals-amer.
Disclaimer: The information provided in our blog posts is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. While we strive to share knowledge and insights on health-related topics, this content should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult with a qualified healthcare professional regarding any medical concerns or decisions related to your health and well-being.