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Although many people look forward to Xmas, with others it fills them with dread. If you have an anxiety disorder, feelings of apprehension may take hold several weeks before the festive season starts. I have put together some pointers to reduce your anxiety and make the holiday season more bearable, and possibly enjoyable.
1. Be honest! You may be invited to parties, or you may be hosting a party yourself. If you are invited to someone’s house, be honest with them. Tell them about your condition and explain how it might affect you. Have a back up plan, in case you start feeling unwell. Ask if you can use one of the bedrooms to have a rest and practise your deepbreathing exercises etc.
2. Don’t overindulge! Excessive sugar and caffeine may increase your anxiety. If you have to have alcohol, perhaps you could alternate with a soft drink. Remember to drink plenty of water throughout the day.
3. Stay in the moment! Don’t let your brain keep focusing on the future and catastrophising over everything. Keep saying to yourself “I’ll deal with it when it happens”.
4. Stay focused! If you are practising various techniques, like exposure therapy, these can fall by the wayside during the festive season. Make a list of things you need to practise each day, and stay focused!
5. You have been through this before and survived. You can do it again!
6. Remember that Xmas is a time for love and the most important person you can love is yourself.
Above all, I hope you and your loved ones have a peaceful and joyous festive season,