Family Gathering Anxiety
It's finally here... the time to both anticipate with great excitement and to dread. Why does the holiday season bring us so much joy and stress? The simple answer, there's A LOT going on. For some of us, a more complicated answer would be, being with family can be stressful and induce a whole new type of anxiety. The questions from uncle Joe, the political talk from aunt Nancy, the non-stop festivities... It's a lot, there's no denying that.
How do you keep your cool amidst it all? Well, there are a few techniques I find very useful. Keep in mind that no one thing is going to work for everyone and everything, so practice patience and try out different things until you find what works best for you...
My go-to #1 technique for beating stress and anxiety in all the hustle and bustle is to practice my breathing techniques. Whether it be square breathing, opposite nostril breathing, or something else, I like to try this first because it's quick, easy and usually not too noticeable to your friends and family.
Square Breathing = this is simple 4-count breathing that you can do anywhere. Breathe in for 4, hold for 4, breathe out for 4, hold for 4 and repeat. I like to do this for 2-3 minutes and evaluate how I feel before and after then adjust accordingly.
Opposite Nostril Breathing = this one is a little more complicated but still easy to do just about anywhere. You want to hold your nose with your thumb and pointer finger. Plug one side, breathe into the other side, switch to plugging the nostril that you just breathed in with, then breathe out the newly open nostril and breathe in that same nostril and repeat the process. Think of the air as flowing in a downward "U" shape and being directed by which nostril you are plugging with your fingers.
Self-care is important always, but arguably more important when you have a lot more going on because it helps refill your bucket. I make sure to always prioritize self-care when I have a lot going on in my social life because it helps me show up better for those around me. There are a many ways to practice self-care even on vacation or with a lot going on, here are my favorites...
Take a Bath = If you have access to a bath, take one. When booking hotels I like to make sure there is a bath in the room and I bring a bath bomb or epsom salts with me. I try to find 20-30 minutes during my trip for a soothing soak.
Meditate = If you are the type to enjoy quiet and meditation, make it a point to meditate everyday. Find a quiet space where you can sit for a while in visualization and reflective meditation.
Work Out = Working out helps us gain endorphins and burn through adrenaline. Adrenaline can be even higher during the holidays when we have more going on, so it's so important to burn through the excess. If you're on vacation make sure to check out some of my workouts for on the road, most require very little or no equipment at all!
Make Yourself a Priority
This one is REALLY challenging for me because I am a people pleaser... During the stress of the holidays it's key to put yourself first when you can. No one is going to hate you for taking some time for yourself and if they do, do you really want them in your life anyways? For me, time for myself usually means a bath, a good workout or extra sleep. Whenever I am on vacation or have a lot going on socially I like to schedule in time with myself. I actually write it out in my planner and schedule it like I would a meeting or a doctor's appointment. That time is non-negotiable.