I recognized what was happening immediately, but still felt out of control of my emotions. I arrived home to find my husband had pulled out the Christmas decorations and was already putting the tree in the stand. Typically, it would take days of nagging to get these tasks done. Instead of lauding and praising his efforts, I complained that I didn’t want to get them all out this year. My anxiety about Christmas and the possibility that we will spend it without family gave way to low-grade anger, irritation, and a need for control. After a grinchy hour, I got myself in check and began to deck the halls.
We have to face it, the holidays are going to be entirely different this year. Everyone is grappling with Covid safety mandates and the crushing blows to our social and family gatherings. When reality doesn’t match our expectations disappointment and frustration are bound to creep in. Anxiety is commonly high during the holidays. Add in a pandemic, the boredom and isolation have now replaced the hustle and bustle. The loss of tradition and our normal routines of work, school, and recreation create emotional havoc. The CDC’s household pulse survey recorded between September 30- October 12 found that 44.7% of adults reported anxiety or depression. The numbers are expected to climb through December.
Newspapers, television broadcasts, social media, and magazines have all been sharing holiday coping advice. I’d like to share a few of the tips that have resonated with me.
There is great comfort in having a solid plan. This is particularly helpful for children. Grace Berman, LCSW, a social worker at the Child Mind Institute says “ by making decisions early you can really help them be prepared for what’s going to happen”. If you wait until the last minute, no one, adult or child, will have the time to deal with the confusion or disappointment.
The mantra continues because self-care is key to physical and mental balance. Practice moderation in food and alcohol consumption. Exercise regularly, maintain hobbies and do the things that feed your soul.
Share your feelings
Talk with family and friends about how you are navigating your life under these unusual circumstances. Love and support are primal needs and our relationships give our life meaning. If you are struggling don’t hesitate to seek additional help. Tele-therapy is widely available and effective.
Avoid Zoom gloom
A lack of structure in our lives frequently builds anxiety. Building structure into our family Zoom meetings makes it less awkward and more fun. Games, cooking parties, wine tastings, book, or movie discussions can all be excellent ways to make our virtual gatherings more interesting.
Plan a drive-by celebration. Donate, Volunteer, Give.
Deliver cookies, handcrafted items, or small gifts to family and friends. There are many ways to donate or give time or talent to those less fortunate. It has always been true, it feels better to give than to receive.
As I was putting away a bin of Thanksgiving decorations, I happened to notice an old copy of The Diary of Ann Frank on the shelf. It instantly struck me that our nine months of Covid restrictions pale in comparison to two years locked in an attic. Like Ann, we have to be vigilant to balance loss versus hope. Bravery and perseverance are what we are called to this holiday season. Leaning into our faith, our capacity for love, tolerance, and kindness will be the primary buttresses we need to make this holiday season, and every other one to come, stable, joyful, and fundamentally good.
-- Kim Vincenty, inspiration behind our FEARLESS Collection
A little about Kim!
A few years ago, Kim Vincenty, a Board Member of OCD Jacksonville, called Patti, Natural Life Founder & CEO, to talk about the possibility of partnering up to “do something together”. After a lot of time, attention and hard work, the FEARLESS Collection was created! We designed the products we knew our customers would love and Kim shared the most powerful sentiments that she knew would really help people struggling with Anxiety Disorders.
We hope that these tips are able to help you through the hustle of the holidays and remind you to take a deep breath, relax and know that it's okay to not do it all. ❤️
Click here to shop our giveback FEARLESS collection!