The MLRA Therapy Blog

Insights and ideas from the therapist team at Meghan L. Reitz and Associates.

10 Ways to Shake off the Holidays

10 ways to shake off the holidays

Are you a bit more on edge than normal? Does your to-do list seem out of control? Does the mere thought of the impending holidays fill you with dread or anxiety?

The approaching holiday season can cause your world to seem like it is spiraling out of control exactly when you would prefer to be enjoying a special time of the year. Many of our clients describe their holiday-infused anxiety as a feeling of being unnerved, shaken or rattled. So, we call what you are experiencing “the holiday shakes.” Not to be confused with a delicious peppermint or eggnog shake, but a generalized nervousness or anxiousness that drastically elevates around the end of the year leading up to New Year’s Eve. As you might imagine, this experience makes for a really unpleasant month of December.

The good news is that the holiday shakes are completely normal and even somewhat expected. So, let's talk about coping strategies and how to be proactive, rather than reactive, this holiday season. Don’t wait! Start practicing these ten holiday skills now, before the end of December hits:

1. Don't Overbook

It's ok to say no, even to pushy relatives. Keep things simple by not making too many commitments.

2. Don’t Drink and Stress

Avoid alcohol, it may seem like a solution, but drunken family arguments are still arguments that are better left out of the holiday celebrations.

3. Stay in a Routine

Keep healthy exercise, diet, and sleep in your routine. Consciously prioritize these higher.

4. Avoid Caffeine

Caffeinated drinks or foods will exacerbate that shaky feeling all season long.

5. See Your Breath

Do you find yourself ever just holding your breath? Be aware of this and remind yourself to breathe from the belly.

6. You’re Making A List

Journal your worries or holiday shake triggers on paper.

7. Schedule Me Time

Even a few minutes of breathing, walking, or closing your eyes every day can be rejuvenating.

8. T'is the Season to Be Grateful

Each day identify three things you are grateful for.

9. Let it Go! Let it Go!

Christmas ham overdone? Family member makes snide remark? Political or religious debates at the table? Pick and choose your battles. Let it go!

10. Give Yourself The Gift of Therapy

Make an appointment with a counselor or psychologist to work on coping skills and sort out your holiday shakes.

Feeling like you don't quite have the hang of all these skills? Don't feel pressure to try them all at once, but just try one or some and see if you can shake the holiday shakes. Remember to reach out to family and friends. If your support system is limited, get involved in church, community events, or meet up groups. There are resources all around you; you just have to be willing to seek out help and support. Remind yourself: Everyone experiences the holiday shakes and it is temporary!


Meghan Reitz, LCPC, NCCMeghan has worked within the counseling profession for over 13 years. Her therapist experience includes providing individual, couples, family, group, and crisis counseling. She also speaks with companies and groups on mental health and wellness topics. Learn more about Meghan HERE.

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