This time of year sees many people managing anxiety in everyday situations, whether it is the boss fearing they won’t meet Christmas deadlines, the employee worrying about problems at home, the Mum worried about whether she has spent enough on her children, or the whole family worrying about visitors over Christmas. Anxiety can be disabling, but while you can’t tackle the seasonal events that lead to stress, you are able to change the way you react to them.
As a South Wales life coach, I’m used to working with people from Cardiff to Swansea, helping them tackle anxiety and stress and regaining control of their lives. Here’s my top 10 tips for managing anxiety at Christmas:
Recognising the symptoms of anxiety is a huge part of tackling it, but once you have done this, you need a strategy to manage that anxiety. These tips should help you with managing anxiety over the short and long term, getting you through the holiday season and going forwards into 2020.
- Calm your breathing, taking slow deep breaths, in to the quick count of seven and out to the quick count of eleven. Importantly the inhale, should be shorter than the exhale.
- Chewing gum can help alleviate the symptoms of anxiety quickly, calming us, where normally we might panic.
- Be present. One of the quickest ways of dealing with anything is to be in the moment. Anxiety never comes up with a positive result, to an event that probably won’t happen. Focus on the five senses, rather than the mind, what can you see with your eyes, feel with your fingers, taste, hear and smell? Try to feel different textures with your fingers, this is particularly effective if you feel you may be about to have a panic attack.
- Take yourself out of the situation if you can, anfd give the anxiety a name. Putting it into words, either spoken, or written, can help. Describe the way you’re feeling when you experience the anxiety in some detail.
- If possible find a space where you can do something explosive, or intense, in terms of exercise. Doing press ups, or star jumps for instance, to failure should help. This can also be done before a potentially stressful event, releasing pent-up tension.
- Take a walk outdoors, fresh and pleasant surroundings help. Lunchtime walks are excellent for releasing tension during the day. Longer term, think about taking up cycling or running.
- Work on your fitness and a generally healthy lifestyle. Spend time with friends, participate in activities you enjoy. Cut down on your intake of caffeine and alcohol – or be aware of how they effect you personally.
- Take small steps outside your comfort zone, the problem isn’t going anywhere. At some point we need to face our anxiety. With help and guidance this is manageable.
- Don’t beat yourself up, you are in no way weak, unable to cope, you suffer with a mental health issue – which can be resolved.
- Understand your anxiety, what triggers it, when is it bad or better? Are there patterns to your issues? Plan accordingly, proactively deal with your anxiety. Try to talk to other people that experience anxiety, too, so you can learn from them, their experiences.
The important thing to remember is that you are not alone, hundreds of others have dealt with similar issues and you can and will cope.
Just for today, allow yourself to release the need to please others and let go of negative talk – including self-talk. Resolve to view yourself and your life in a positive, supportive way.
Getting support for Stress and Anxiety
I haven’t always been a life coach – I am one now because I was able to work through my own issues, including anxiety, through help and support. Professional support was a valuable part of my recovery and I truly believe that one on one support can be life changing.
I work with people on a one-to-one basis, using the strategies and therapies that helped me, including EFT, Life Coaching and mental health counselling. I also work with support groups in Cardiff, Swansea and Bridgend. These days I am contented, happy and anxiety free.
You can read my story here.
Enough about me, though – if you’ve read this far, it’s time for you to write your story. Start now by releasing and managing anxiety.