Here are just five ways to support someone during the holidays this year.
The holidays can always be rough, but particularly if you’re living with anxiety. Here are just five ways that you can offer support to someone who might be struggling during the festivities.
1) Check in.
During Christmas, so many people risk being left behind because everyone is in a rush to sort out presents and get everything ready. It’s important to set aside time to actually connect with people. That might just be a sincere but quick text or it might be going out for a coffee. Whatever usually works for your friend or relative, take the time to do that. No-one should be left feeling lonely this Christmas.
2) Offer a quiet space but understand if plans are cancelled
Reaching out and supporting in a quiet but comforting way can mean a lot. Again this might mean going for coffee, or if leaving the house is too much, having a gaming session where you can chat over the headsets. There are a lot of different things to do where people can take time for each other, however, it’s important to accept these plans may well be cancelled. What matters is the thought. If people cancel due to anxiety then be supportive, and accept that even if it is just five minutes before. The person with anxiety will be feeling guilty enough for cancelling. It’s important to still be there, and to keep offering with events no matter how many times they get rejected.
3) Send a card
Not everyone is up for conversations, and for some people, even acknowledging anxiety is a factor in their lives that can feel like failure. It’s the perfect time of year to send cards out and show people you’re thinking of them so if someone is a bit isolated or seems distant, then reach out in that way.
4) Try to minimise triggers
Holidays are the worst for getting the family around who then ask invasive questions. There are certain topics that might cause triggers, but relatives tend not to have any filters, particularly after a few glasses of mulled wine. Try and actively steer conversations into safer territory if you know that this might be an issue. For some, social anxiety can cause quietness which can make it hard to really avoid these topics which is why it can help if someone is showing solidarity, and doing their best to shut down the lecherous uncle making any comments.
We can all do things to offer support but the most important thing is to listen. It’s not about other people wanting to fix things, but about listening and trying to adjust behaviour how an anxious person asks. Don’t bombard someone and don’t try to take control of their lives. Listen, ask gently if they need anything and if they do then act on it.
These are just minuscule methods to try to ease anxiety for someone at this time of year. There are plenty of others. The important thing though is always to have open conversations with consideration. Only then can someone feel able to talk about their anxiety.