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Managing Holiday Gatherings Anxiety

Managing Holiday Gatherings Anxiety

With the holiday season fast approaching, many folks are starting to schedule plans to see friends and family. Although seeing friends and family is often an enjoyable time, it’s okay to feel anxious about returning back to “normal.” I personally am feeling a bit nervous about gathering in a large group even though I used to do it all of the time before COVID. Here are a few tips to help support and prepare you for holiday gatherings:

  1. Journaling: Continue to process your thoughts and feelings by writing them down. By acknowledging the way you are feeling, you can set aside time to take care of yourself whether that be through meditation, a walk, or self-care day.
  2. Communicate: Remember that your feelings are valid and you are not alone. Everyone is experiencing transitioning back to “normal” differently. It is important to communicate your feelings and thoughts to your support network. It can be beneficial to talk about your fears because likely others are feeling the same as you.
  3. Start Slow: It is okay to stay within your comfort zone until you have built up confidence to expand your interactions. Often taking our time to readjust to the post-pandemic life allows us to evaluate our thoughts, feelings and emotions. Acknowledge these feelings and use them as a guide to slowly expand this circle as you feel ready.

 For more reopening tips and techniques check out Managing Reopening Anxiety tips.

 If when you listen to your thoughts you decide it is best not to attend large holiday gatherings yet, here are two ways you can still stay connected:

  1. Having an outdoor drive-by: In classic COVID spirit, a drive-by allows you to still have a visit with individuals without the commitment of the gathering. Last year, I drove around to visit my friends and family. This activity is perfect because it allowed me to stay socially distanced but still be able to converse in person. This year as the COVID restrictions have become more relaxed, you could do a drive-by but stay for a visit in their house without the pressure of many people also being there.
  2. Zoom: Although we have probably all experienced a form of Zoom fatigue, this is the perfect way to connect with family and friends without physically being present. I also really enjoy Zoom to connect with family and friends that are geographically inaccessible. Through Zoom, you are able to control the environment (your house) and the duration (excusing yourself by ending the call politely).