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Guest Column

5 Ways to Battle Seasonal Anxiety
By Dr. Eudene Harry
Dec 6, 2013 - 12:37:02 AM

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What makes you anxious this season?

  • Visiting in-laws and family?
  • Shopping frenzy?
  • Weight gain that comes with holiday season?
  • Feeling like you are missing out on the joy of the season?

If you are feeling like the Grinch who stole Christmas, you are not alone but there is no need to be sucked into the misery loves company whirlpool. In fact, you may have noticed that the more you wallow, the worse you feel. Here are some simple steps that may help you to keep your spirits up during a most stressful time of the year.

1. Recharge your batteries with friends that inspire and rejuvenate you. Most of us are aware that there are certain individuals in our lives that can make us light up like a Christmas tree and others that make us feel that the air has been let out of our balloons. We are well aware that we shouldn't let the batteries in our phone completely deplete. You are your main communication device. Make the time to be around those that charge you up.

2. Sleep is your best friend during this time of year. During the holiday season, we forego sleep because there are much more fun important things to do. However, continuing this pattern over the course of two months can be extremely taxing to the body. Lack of sleep compromises our ability to make sound decisions (whether or not to buy that super expensive watch), increases risk of weight gain (we do not need additional help in that department) and increases our vulnerability to anxiety. Since many of us still have our jobs to contend with, whether you are stay at home parent or the CEO of a fortune 500 company, this can be more than just a minor inconvenience not to mention a health risk.

3. Make time for down time. You just got off work, traffic is horrendous and now you are heading to the mall to do some shopping. The lines are about 50 feet long, you are hungry and thirsty and you just know that the cashier has taken a course in prolonging your agony. You then imagine getting home to a chorus of -- what's for dinner? Stop, take a deep breathe in slowly, hold it, then release for as long as you can. Engage that rest and digest parasympathetic system that will slow the heart rate, slow the breathing and lull the body into thinking the danger has passed. Then reach into the bag for that healthy bar or nuts and dried fruits you had the foresight to pack and start munching while you wait. Also, that small portable bottle of water sure comes in handy about now. You then reach for your phone, arrange to pick dinner on the way home and envision the calming cup of chamomile tea awaiting you when get home. Same situation, different response

4. Just say no- to all the sugary, high fat treats just laying around taunting you, to that extra glass of wine because what the heck and most of all to taking on extra tasks that you know would stretch you beyond thin. As tempting as those treats are, indulge sparingly or you might be prone to dip in energy levels, increased cravings and the dreaded holiday weight gain. You know feel frumpy, grumpy and fat. Pay attention to alcohol consumption. Alcohol can negatively impact sleep, decrease inhibitions and can contribute to weight gain. We have already established that lack of sleep comes with its own set of issues as well. Try to limit yourself to one glass and if a second consider making it a spritzer. Remember certainly alcoholic drinks are heavy on the calories, not ideal for trying to avoid the weight gain and bloat. You can also try mocktails- non-alcoholic beverages with the taste of your favorite drink. Also, if choosing to drink, do so responsible and have a designated driver.

5. Spend and budget responsible. Financial stress can be one of the most challenging at this time of year. Many of us get into the spirit of giving and receiving for the holiday season because often times we want to experience appreciation, love and compassion. These are all things we can experience without putting ourselves in financial jeopardy. You may also find that it more challenging to be loving when you are faced with the possibility of not being able to take care of a financial responsibility. So be creative, spend less, hug more. Owe less, so you can give more. It is not the thought that counts but rather the caring action behind the thought.

Dr. Eudene Harry

Dr. Eudene Harry
has practiced medicine for more than 20 years and is currently the medical director of Oasis Wellness & Rejuvenation Center, an integrative holistic lifestyle clinic. Dr. Harry is board certified in both emergency and holistic medicine. She completed her medical degree and residency at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, PA. Dr. Barry is the author of two books: Live Younger in 8 Simple Steps and Anxiety 101.

In Anxiety 101: The Holistic Approach to Managing Your Anxiety and Taking Back Your Life, Dr. Harry provides a comprehensive overview of the many faces of anxiety as well as its causes and ways to treat and manage symptoms while maintaining balance and productivity. Anxiety 101 is available at and through all major booksellers.

For more information, visit

(From Amazon)

  • Anxiety 101: The Holistic Approach to Managing Your Anxiety & Taking Back Your Life presents readers with an overview of the condition that affects approximately sixteen million Americans and provides a comprehensive list of the wide variety of integrative holistic treatment options available. Dr. Eudene Harry combines her experience in modern medicine and passion for holistic care in this handbook for anyone who suffers from anxiety. Harry notes that in a society that desires a pill for every ill, “it is important that we learn the root causes behind a patient’s anxiety in order to form both a proper diagnosis and treatment regimen” (46). Anxiety 101 is intentionally structured to appeal both to patients who suffer from anxiety and medical professionals who treat the disorder.

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