Easy ways to reduce anxiety around family holidays

emotional health holidays monday blogs Dec 19, 2016

Many people are making arrangements for this weekend (Hanukkah and Christmas) for a fantastic family holiday. A lot of us celebrate family holidays. Sometimes the holidays finding us celebrating alone. Either way, family holidays are wonderful and can also be stressful.  Why? Lots of reasons. We remember the holidays of the past along with people who are no longer with us. We have expectations. Sometimes, we feel anxiety about seeing our friends and family, or perhaps we feel anxiety over feeling alone on the holiday.

The number one way to deal with these types of feelings (even when it doesn’t apply to family holidays) is to get out of your own head. Our ego self is the part of us that feels anxiety, loneliness, fear, and tension. To get out of our ego self and activate our higher selves, it is very simple. Put your focus on others.

Please, hear me out. You might not feel like you have anything left to give. Perhaps you got some devastating news this week, have a difficult memory coming to the surface or are missing a loved one. Maybe you feel anxiety about trying to navigate your familial childhood roles as adults with new roles. Perhaps you are establishing new roles. No matter what the cause of your anxiety, there are some easy things you can do to reduce it.

Easy ways to reduce anxiety around family holidays

This solution will work no matter what the cause of your negative emotion. By putting the focus on others, we allow our higher selves to step to the forefront. We get out of her own heads (our ego selves) and stop overthinking things. It feels really good to give. And I promise there are things that you can give even if you are completely tapped out. Here is a list of ideas – I’m sure you can think of lots of other things:

  • Smile at a stranger.
  • Pay someone a sincere compliment.
  • Wipe off the tables in the break room and straighten the coffee cups.
  • Take a small gift to your neighbor.
  • Cook dinner for a loved one.
  • Call a friend who you haven’t talked to in a long time.
  • Offer an act of service for someone who might really appreciate your help like picking up some groceries or shoveling their walk. 
  • Volunteer for a soup kitchen or homeless shelter.
  • See if you can help a church or community organization.

All of these things not only take you out of your ego self, but they help promote self-love. For more thoughts on self love, you might enjoy this interview with yoga teacher and yoga studio creator, Jennifer Knight. 


The role of physical touch in reducing anxiety

Physical touch is a proven anxiety reducer. Hey!! I didn’t meant THAT kind of physical touch… although that certainly works, too. I’m talking about physical touch in general. Physical touch will raise your natural endorphins, fire up your immune system, lower your blood pressure measurably, and overall make you feel better.

Give hugs. Hold hands. Pet your pets and, if they’ll allow it, give them hugs (not all animals like hugs so be sure you know that this animal will tolerate a hug). If you don’t have pets of your own, go to a local animal shelter. You’ll be helping the animals that are desperately lonely just by petting them and spending time with them. In turn, you receive the same benefits. Go to a church service. Many churches offer a passing of the peace with a handshake. Even a handshake can feel great if you are needing physical touch. 

If you are feeling emotional this week, know you aren’t alone. There are lots of people, and I’ve been one, who struggle with the holidays. It’s ok. Know that you are loved and you are important. I wish you a blessed holiday week. May you feel love and feel loved.

Carrie, this is in honor of your brother-in-law. Wishing you, Lance and the family love, light, peace and healing.

To all of you, all my love.