The holidays can be very difficult for people who suffer from mental health troubles. I have anxiety and I get occasional panic attacks, which are a lot better now but they can still crop up from time to time when I’m under more stress than usual. Mostly when I have a heavy workload or worried about the health of a family member. However I really try to maintain a few key elements in my daily routine that protect me from potential anxiety attacks, and during the holidays there are no exceptions. Better self-care is a must for me. I never realized up until a couple years ago how important self-care is. It is crucial for anyone who wants to maintain good mental health to practice self-care. I will highlight what I do during the holidays to protect my mental health in this post, and maybe it can inspire someone to start a great routine as well!
- THE most important thing that I do to battle anxiety and panic attacks is exercise! I MUST exercise at least 4-5 times a week for optimal mental health. If I don’t, I feel as though I have too much bottled up energy and it releases in the form of panic attacks and/or constant steady state anxiety and heart palpitations which I cannot stand. Once I release it all with a hard workout, I feel like a new woman. If I know I have a social event that day, I make sure I fit in a hard workout even more. I’ll never skip it. It makes such a difference when I am at the event knowing that a lot of my energy was released during an earlier workout.
- After a social event, I make sure to rest the next day. I get really tired from socializing, it takes me at least a day to calm down I need relaxed time at home the following day to recover. Lots of peppermint tea and reading some fun magazines or Pinterest time is what I need. Maybe a nap! 😉
- During the holidays there’s always lots going on. I try to focus on what I can control which is making sure that I’m on top of my work. If I don’t do that the anxiety is too high. So I write down everything I possibly can that I have to do, and I make sure before I go have fun with friends and family that I finish my work. No stress = fun and relaxed at the holiday party!
- I get all my Christmas shopping done before December 1st! I’ve been doing this for the past 3 years, I make sure I get everything done in advance so I am not forced to go to hot busy malls before Christmas. I hate crowds! I also do a lot of my shopping online of course, but there are always things I want to find in person in a store, so I go on a quiet evening or two and get everything one before the start of the crazy season! Then all we have left to do is wrap presents, which I make sure I do while I’m having some hot chocolate and listening to Michael Buble 🙂
- Ok, this sounds weird but it works! Bring slippers to the holiday family party! Who else hates having cold feet? When I’m wearing slippers I feel cozy wherever I am. I love it! Bring some cute slip-on slippers (the nice ballet type ones, not the SpongeBob ones! Lol!) and you will instantly feel calmer at the party. Obviously, if it’s a fancy party, I wouldn’t do that but if it’s just your friends or family at a house, slippers are just the trick to feel more comfortable and calm.
Those are my top tips for protecting my mental health during the holiday season. I also try to use hand sanitizer whenever I can to protect my physical health as well. Because I don’t have time to be sick…lol!
Happy holidays from my family to yours!
Ellenie is a wife and mom to one amazing and spirited little boy. She is a social media manager and virtual assistant. She has a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a special focus on generalized anxiety disorders and OCD. She has suffered from anxiety and panic attacks her whole life. Ellenie has been finding positive ways to conquer her mental battles every day and would love to share them with anyone who also suffers from an anxiety disorder. She also has Crohn’s Disease and has written about living with its struggles and raising a young baby. Ellenie lives in Montreal, Quebec, but is planning on traveling a lot in the near future. She loves to stay active and eat healthily, a few of the key lifestyle changes that have helped her with her mental and physical health struggles.