For some, the excitement of gathering with friends and family, purchasing holiday gifts, and celebrating holiday traditions are a much anticipated joy. For others, the time leading up to Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa may bring up feelings of anxiety, stress, grief, or depression. The Holiday Blues can happen to anyone, but the good news is that there are ways to take care of yourself this holiday season.

Reduce Your Stress

The holiday season can be extremely stressful. It is easy to get caught up with unrealistic expectations and try to do too much. Many people fall into the trap of overspending or trying to relive a nostalgic memory of Christmas past. Consider, instead, setting a budget in advance you can stick to that will reduce your financial headaches. Plan your family’s schedule ahead of time if possible, dumping extra gatherings that stress you out and prioritizing time to take care of yourself. Try to make that yoga class that is part of your usual routine, or plan times where you can take a walk, share a coffee with a dear friend, or ask for help from your spouse, neighbor, or friend.  Create your own customized support system to keep from being overwhelmed.

Make a Plan to Avoid Family Conflict

If visiting family is part of your holiday plans, family dysfunctions that show up in many if not all families can amplify feelings of anxiety, inadequacy, and frustration. If you’re visiting from out of town, make plans to get out of the house for a walk around the block, or go and see other friends living in the area to give yourself some much-needed space to regroup and recharge. Many families agree not to discuss certain hot-button topics. However, if Uncle Bob wants to talk about politics and shifting the conversation is having no effect, acknowledge what you’ve heard and head elsewhere. If visiting family causes you more pain and anxiety than can be handled, shorten your visit or simply plan to see them another time of the year. Realize that you have control over what you can handle, and you can make choices about how you spend your time and with whom for the holidays.

Don’t Underestimate the Benefits of Sleep and Exercise

If you’re starting to feel overwhelmed by the holidays, take stock in how you are taking care of yourself. It may be tempting to stay up until the wee hours marking things off an unending to do list, however, not getting enough rest can make you less resilient to stress and can contribute to irritability and the holiday blues in general. Don’t stop your exercise regimen during the holidays. Regular exercise is a wonderful outlet to burn off steam, keeping your muscles toned, and curbing your appetite. Lastly, do your best to moderate your intake of holiday treats and adult beverages to eliminate regrets later.

Prioritize Your Well-Being

Sometimes it is difficult to stay positive despite the season because of family conflict, loss, relationship breakups, divorce, or the death of a loved one. If this happened recently or over the holidays, it can make the holiday season all the more lonesome and depressing. If counseling or talking to a friend isn’t working, give yourself the gift of healing by considering a course of neurofeedback training. Sometimes when we have strong emotional triggers, it is hard to shake these feelings. Fortunately, neurofeedback is great about helping you break this cycle, potentially giving you relief from anxiety, panic attacks, and depression. Neurofeedback sessions are typically 30 minutes long and involve a relaxing course of watching a video with audio and visual cues that help train your brain to better manage emotions and come into balance. Evaluations are at no charge to see if neurofeedback might be right for your situation.

Let Us Help You Feel Better This Holiday Season

Dr. Ed Carlton, the founder of Carlton NeuroFeedback Center located in Manassas, Virginia, is committed to helping his patients find relief from anxiety and depression with neurofeedback training. This non-invasive, long-lasting treatment employs the amazing plasticity of the mind to help your brain break out of debilitating emotional patterns resulting in calmer more positive outlook. As our gift to you, download our free eBook to learn more about how neurofeedback can be used to address many types of brain-related disorders. Call our office today at 703-335-9149 to set up your appointment and take the first step toward feeling your very best this holiday season.