A Holiday Pep Talk: Tips to Thrive and Survive The Holidays

anxiety guest interview mindfulness ocd

Happy Holidays Everyone!

During this time of year, it’s common for us to experience both very high and very difficult emotions. We can experience joy, excitement, and happiness, but can also experience difficult emotions such as hopelessness, depression, fear, panic, grief, and loneliness during the holiday season.  If you are anything like me, you are feeling slightly overwhelmed and stressed because of all that you have to do.  The holidays stir up many emotions and, given that it is such a universal experience for us during this time, we thought it would be a great time to bring on Alison Seponara.  She is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Pennsylvania and talks about How to Thrive and Survive the Holidays.  If you’re also managing a mental illness or other psychological stressors, this episode will be especially important for you. Depression and anxiety may be heightened during the holiday seasons and we wanted to provide you with many tools to help you Thrive and Survive the Holidays. 

Don’t miss this podcast episode!

You can listen to the episode for FREE on iTunes HERE

You can listen to the episode for FREE on Stitcher HERE

You can listen to the episode for FREE streaming HERE

As Alison says, a lot of pressures come up with the holidays.  With the pressure, comes stress and anxiety.

In this interview, I speak to Alison about prominent topics that can affect our mental health during the holiday season.  The following is addressed during this podcast:

  • Grief and how the holidays can bring up grief you were not expecting
    • The holidays can be a sad and hard time for someone who has lost somebody, especially within the year.  This is something to pay attention to if you are going somewhere and recognize that someone with you might have lost someone.
  • Anxiety and how it is often increased due to the stress of the holiday period and the presence of triggering family members
    • If you have family members that trigger you, it’s a good idea to prepare yourself beforehand by using self-talk and letting yourself know that you can set boundaries with that person. You can distance yourself and choose not to engage by picking your battles with that person.  Don’t forget, we have coping strategies! Think about which strategies, such as mindfulness tools, work best for you.
  • Social anxiety and how it can cause us to dread the holiday period
  • The fear of saying no to family members and events that you don’t think are healthy for you to attend
    • It's okay to say no and find a tradition that works best for you!
  • The financial struggles that go along with the holidays
    • This time of year can be very expensive! Finances do cause stress and anxiety.  A strategy for this is to start a holiday savings at the beginning of the year and put a little bit into the savings every month.  Having a holiday savings can make things easier. Also, if money is an issue, it’s important to keep in mind that it’s the thought that counts.  You can be creative and make homemade gifts, which can be wonderful and sentimental!
  • The overwhelming expectation to feel nothing but joy and celebration

The biggest takeaway from this episode of Your Anxiety Toolkit is that that YOU DO NOT HAVE TO FEEL BAD IF YOU ARE NOT ENJOYING THE HOLIDAYS.  It is totally normal and okay to struggle and experience painful emotions instead of feeling festive, and Alison made some great points in reassuring you of this.  I hope this podcast episode of Your Anxiety Toolkit helps you feel ready to thrive and survive the holidays!


About Kimberley Quinlan

Kimberley Quinlan is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who specializes in Anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Eating Disorders, Panic Disorder and Body Focused Repetitive Behaviors (BFRB’s).  Kimberley is highly trained in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), with a heavy emphasis on Exposure Response Prevention (ERP), and has been practicing meditation and mindfulness for many years.  Kimberley has a special interest in the integration of mindfulness principles with CBT for OCD, Anxiety Disorders, and Eating Disorders.  Kimberley has experience treating adults, adolescents, and children, and tailors each program to suit the age and cognitive development of each client.  Kimberley has a private practice in Calabasas and Westlake Village. 


About Alison Seponara

Alison Seponara is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Pennsylvania.  For more information, you can find her at the following:

IG: @therapywithali

FB: Alison Seponara

Website: https://www.alisonseponara.com/