Thanksgiving can be a time of sweet celebrations, delicious food, and catching up. Many people look forward to traveling home for perhaps the only opportunity they have per year to connect with family and old friends. While others dread the holiday for whatever reason, the holiday can induce a bit of anxiety for just about everyone. Below, we’ve laid out some helpful ways to potentially navigate Thanksgiving anxiety in Los Angeles this year.
“Holiday Blues” and “Thanksgiving Anxiety” are a very real thing. It’s a condition that begins as Thanksgiving rolls around and ends after the new year, affecting many people, even those that don’t have pre-existing mental health conditions. People tend to feel anxious, lonely, stressed, frustrated, and tense during this time because of the expectations the holiday brings, the traumatic history behind the holiday, and forced gatherings.
While it may be of consolation to know that “Thanksgiving Anxiety” is only temporary, it’s especially hard on those with anxiety disorders. People with anxiety disorders may feel like their anxiety is magnified when they need to travel in a busy airport, join large crowds, show up to dinners alone, or are asked questions they’re not comfortable answering such as about their romantic life or career success. It may be difficult for someone suffering to see other family members and friends handle this situation so well and actually enjoy the holiday while they’re in distress.
Tips for Anxiety in Los Angeles
If you have a case of the “Holiday Blues” or have an anxiety disorder, there are a few things you can do to relieve stress that trigger anxiety. For one, providing yourself with sufficient “me time” is crucial. In order to stay grounded during the tense holiday, you need to cultivate some inner strength. Practicing meditation, eating well, sleeping enough, exercising, and participating in hobbies is a great way to practice self-care that can keep you balanced. A gratitude journal can also help keep you in a positive mindset. Writing a few gratitude statements a day or sending out gratitude notes to loved ones can help remind you of the pure love that exists outside the differences you may have with a loved one. Write a note to yourself as well for your strength through the season. Sometimes, the best thing to realize is that the holiday will come to an end. And with that, hopefully you can have a bit of peace should anxiety flare up during the holiday.
Find a Therapist
It can be extremely helpful to find a therapist before Thanksgiving so that you can be fully stocked with coping mechanisms. Whether you have social anxiety or another form of debilitating anxiety, a therapist can provide you with empowering ways to create boundaries for yourself and others so that you feel a sense of control over how you react to whatever comes up during the holidays. With therapy, you may learn to see the different sides of a situation so that you are more empathetic toward loved ones even when it feels like they’re against you. There is power in knowing that people’s anger or ill behavior toward you comes from a place of hurt. A therapist will also help you to handle and overcome your anxiety. All these tools will relieve some stress during the holidays so that you can be more in the present.
For more information, call Trauma and Beyond Center at (818) 651-0725.