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4 Tips for Battling Holiday Anxieties

Whew, it's been a minute y'all! I have been swamped with orders, new products, and just about anything else that could be happening. Fortunately, I'm back with another blog, and this time it's a little different from my usual cup of tea, but I think it's important to talk about and get into the open. This week I'm talking self preservation and self care during the holidays. That's right, the two things that feel like they should be on the back burner this time of year are actually the most important things to make sure you're in good health. Keep reading to find out strategies, essential oils, and more that can help you keep a sane mind during what can be the most stressful time of the year.

We all know that feeling: your chest tightens, your heart rate quickens, you might even start to sweat or get stomach butterflies and pains. Anxiety afflicts us all, but truthfully more so in women than men. Twice as many women are diagnosed with anxiety disorders within their lifetime than men, so the next time you're flying off the handle and your man seems calmer than a cucumber, keep that in mind.

It's kind of ironic that the holidays bring so much angst. It's supposed to be the happiest, coziest time of the year, but it often brings unnecessary worry. Everything from trying to buy people presents, please everyone with the food, and successfully gather your whole family without some sort of drama unfolding can be more than you're willing to deal with. Many times, we can start to feel guilty for feeling that it may not be worth the hassle, but don't feel bad for wanting time to yourself. I promise you, when you adopt this attitude things get a whole lot easier. Only you can control your feelings, and you cannot control anyone else's. You have to do what makes you calm, and cannot worry about what other people think. So, here's a few of my favorite ways to chill out when I feel the anxiety rising, and, warning, I'm about to get personal.

To put it all out there, when I was 15 I was diagnosed with GAD, or General Anxiety Disorder, and phobias. I had struggled with anxiety all of my life before then, but when the hormones in my body got wonky and I stopped producing progesterone, my anxiety went through the roof and off to therapy I went (and stayed for six more years). I had terrible anxiety in social situations (sometimes I would even pass out because I would get so nervous), so as you can imagine, even the holidays were my worst nightmare. The first thing that helped me was admitting that I had a problem. When I finally accepted that I didn't like crowds and feeling trapped in a room freaked me out, I could start to find ways to help myself. I started spending more time outside of the house when everyone was over. I would go sit on the porch, play with the dogs, or just take a minute to get a breather and I found it helped me get into the correct headspace to go back in and talk to people. That's something I had to do for me, and it didn't bother anyone. Try figuring out the root of the problem, and don't be afraid to get honest with yourself. This is the most important step and will help guide you to less stress, less worry, and more time to enjoy with your family.

A lot of preparation goes in before all the happenings, and one of the first things I do is make an essential oil blend that calms me down. I have one of those diffuser necklaces so when I'm going into a particularly anxiety-producing situation it can help ease my mind. My favorite is a lavender and sweet orange blend. The lavender helps to calm my racing thoughts, but the sweet orange also makes me feel more positive and happy. Whenever I start getting nervous at family gatherings, I just take a big inhale to smell my necklace and I'm instantly calmer. You can find diffuser necklaces anywhere these days, and organic, 100% pure essential oils are also easy to get your hands on. Play around with different scents to see what works best for you. Typically, lavender is an easy go-to for a calmer state of mind so I definitely recommend that as the base, then play around with whatever else you need with other essential oils.

If you're already feeling the nerves and you haven't even left the house (or the guest haven't arrived to yours), try a few yoga poses to calm your breathing and take time for you. My personal favorites are Child's Pose (Balasana) and Cat-Cow Pose (if you don't know how to do them or what they are follow the links!). I like to start with Cat-Cow Pose to get my breathing going in a rhythmic fashion and to calm my mind down. The movement helps me to stop focusing on what is bothering me and allows my mind to open up and be still. This is one of the easiest poses to do to get your breathing regulated, and doesn't require a bunch of twisting and such, so it's great for when you're in a pinch. After I feel sufficiently calm, I go to Child's Pose to give myself a few minutes to just "be". I try to keep my mind still and free of thought. This is my designated time to do what's best for me and not let outside distractions come in. I keep my breathing very methodical and controlled, which helps me to feel in control. I do this until I feel ready to get up and then I'm usually good to go. Again, these are just suggestions. Find what works best for you. The poses that help me may not help you and that's ok, it takes time to find what your mind and body need.

If all else fails, I highly recommend taking organic CBD oil. Not hemp oil, not a prescription, but organic, pure, CO2 extracted CBD oil. This stuff honestly changed my life. I started taking it a few years ago when I was an anxious mess in college and it truly helped me get through many panic attacks and bad days. It doesn't make you feel weird, and it doesn't give you a "shift" (that's the best way I know how to describe it) or make you into a zombie like prescriptions do. You kind of just realize "Huh, I am not anxious and I feel great and normal!". On top of it's amazing anti-anxiety properties, it is also great for inflammation. Along with my GAD, I have a severe wheat allergy and SIBO (a whole other blog to get in to!) so my gut can get inflamed and in pain even with a no wheat and dairy diet. This stuff helped to heal my gut, and soothe the inflammation. My mom has a bulging disk problem in her back and uses CBD to ease that pain, since sometimes it's so painful she can't even get off the couch. I can't say enough good about this stuff, and I highly recommend you check it out. My favorite brand is Nuleaf Naturals since it is organic, third party verified, and they use the CO2 extraction process which prevents heat degradation and pollution of the CBD.

You might be thinking, "This sounds like a lot of me, me, me", because, quite simply, it is. I've had people who do not understand anxiety or anxiety disorders tell me I am selfish, or that I should just "get over it", and trust me, if it worked that way, I would've been "over it" years and years ago. Taking care of yourself should be your number 1 priority, even during the season that is based around taking care of everyone else. You have needs, too, and a healthy, calm you is much more productive and fun to be around than an anxiety-ridden, unhappy you. I hope some of this can help and that you'll have your best round of holidays yet! No matter the holiday, occasion, or season, just remember to do what is best for you, and there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with that.

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