Holidays are a difficult time of year for many different reasons. You might have an interpersonally challenging family who drains you to the core if you spend more than one hour with them. Maybe your holiday get-togethers are filled with passive aggressive conflict that bubbles up to the surface the more time you spend in a room together. Perhaps you would rather spend your holidays at home, alone or with your partner, and yet feel racked with guilt of what you “should” be doing with your holidays. Whether your holiday triggers emotionally dysregulating memories, childhood trauma, or just plain stress, self-care is an important part of getting through the holiday season.
You’ve decided that this is a situation where avoiding your anxiety is going to make things worse. You need to tackle the problem in front of you and face it head on—how do you do this while managing the overwhelming panic and worst case scenarios. Let’s walk through some options together.
You’re feeling anxious, but you know it’s not the right time to deal with the situation right now. Things are out of your control, there’s nothing you can do, or this is way outside of your comfort zone to handle it alone. You’ve decided to avoid, but…now what? I’ll give you a run down of a few scenarios where you might choose to avoid, and walk you through options for coping skills.
While you may not be able to get rid of anxiety forever, there are many ways to live with your anxiety more effectively and prevent it from getting in the way of your life and your happiness. This series on dealing with anxiety will help you learn when to approach or avoid your fears, and how to do so in a skillful, effective way.
Being unable to describe how you feel is confusing and frustrating. Using a tool like this distress thermometer (sometimes called a Subjective Units of Distress Scale) for different emotions can be an extremely helpful tool in building your emotional vocabulary, self-awareness, and understanding.
When we're in the middle of an anxiety attack or flashback, our frontal lobe goes out the window. It feels impossible to focus or think clearly about anything. Grounding is a great tool for coping with this and other intense emotions, when we need something to help us come back to the present moment, calm our bodies and our minds down, and figure out our next steps.
You feel alone. Empty. No one in your life really gets you or understands what you're going through. Feeling alone can be so isolating, especially when people in your life don't seem to understand what you mean by "feeling alone"...How can you feel alone when I'm right here? they might ask. How can you feel alone when you are surrounded by people? There are several reasons feeling alone is hard for others to understand.
Emotions can be overwhelming at times, confusing, complicated--it's hard to understand what we are feeling, let alone figure out what to do next. Follow these steps to guide yourself through a process of bringing mindful awareness to your emotions, figure out what is underneath them, and identify your options for what to do next. BONUS! Download our "What is my emotion telling me?" worksheet for extra help.
Use this Emotions List as a handy tool for therapy or journaling whenever you need to access a quick list of emotions!