Holiday Stress

       There are certain times of the year when stress is higher than others. For many, the holiday season can be one of those times. Whether it is due to the stress of having financial strains due to gift giving expectations, coming together with unsavory family situations, not being able to celebrate in the manner in which you would like or whatever your reason, stress can easily replace holiday spirit and cause you to become overwhelmed with anxiety.

                Anxiety manifests itself in many different forms and can look different from person to person, however, besides having an overall nervous feeling, some classic symptoms of anxiety can be:

  • Difficulty sleeping (e.g. waking frequently during the night, trouble falling asleep, nightmares)
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Muscle tension
  • Stomachaches
  • Excessive sweating, particularly in the palms
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Extreme fear of social contact
  • Substance abuse
  • Jitteriness
  • Excessive worry

If you are still unsure of your symptoms or you believe that you or someone you know is dealing with excessive anxiety, seek help from a therapist or a doctor. It is best to find as much professional help as you can when dealing with anxiety so that it does not get out of control. If you are looking for some tips to help you ease your anxiety, below you will find some methods you can talk over with your therapist taken from

                1. Take a time-out. Practice yoga, listen to music, meditate, get a massage, or learn relaxation techniques. Stepping back from the problem helps clear your head.

                2. Take deep breaths. Inhale and exhale slowly and try counting to ten or more slowly to help you slow down and refocus.

                3. Learn what triggers your anxiety. Is it work, family, school, or something else you can identify? Write in a journal when you’re feeling stressed or anxious, and look for a pattern.

                4. Accept that you cannot control everything. Put your stress in perspective: Is it really as bad as you think?

                5. Eat well-balanced meals. Do not skip any meals. Keep healthful, energy-boosting snacks on hand and exercise daily to help you feel good and maintain your health.

                6. Get enough sleep. When stressed, your body needs additional sleep and rest.

                7. And last, but certainly not least, DO YOUR BEST!!! Instead of aiming for perfection, which isn’t possible, be proud of however close you get.

                Stress and anxiety are quite common year long, but sometimes we need to take a closer look at ourselves and make sure we are taking the extra care we need. So I urge you to stop for a moment and check in with yourself. Be truthful for a minute and ask yourself, “Am I giving myself what I truly need”? If not take some time out to do so in order to truly enjoy what this time of year is all about!

By Garcsa Brooks

Intern, Olive Branch Counseling Associates, Inc

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