3 Ways to Alleviate Anxiety this Winter

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We are getting ready to enter a new year, with new intentions, fears, and expectations. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, getting wrapped up in the details, take a moment to be still. To name where you are and what is going on inside and around you. And if your soul still feels hurried and overwhelmed with anxiety, may these 3 practices be a gentle guide to relieve some of that stress this season.  

1. Practice kindness
I’ve often heard this said, but we tend to be our biggest critics. This season when you’re faced with disappointment, uncertainty, or confusion, consider being kind to yourself. Take care of your body and mind. Be gentle with yourself. You’re doing the best you can with the information you have, and others are doing the same. When anxiety creeps in, instead of whispering the worst about how you “could have” or “should have” done this or said that, give your mind a break and take a walk, eat a meal, or take a warm shower. Perhaps your mind and body will thank you later.  

2. Practice presence
Anxiety often keeps us from entering into the present moment, making us miss the things and people that are right in front of us. When we focus on the present moment, we fix our attention on what is happening in the here and now. Rather than dwelling on the past or anticipating what’s to come in the future, we center our hearts on this very moment. What’s going on around you? What emotions have you noticed? What thoughts have been occupying your mind? Who are you with right now? What are you doing?Can you slow down long enough to answer these questions? You can only entertain one thought at a time. When you answered those questions, did you notice how those other thoughts had to disappear, even if only for a moment? You can address those concerns, but can you address them now? If the answer is no, consider letting them go, and come back to the present.  

3. Practice connection
Some of the greatest friendships have started with the words, “Wait, you do that too? I thought I was the only one.” While pain may be a burden we all bear, we do not have to carry it alone, in the darkness, hidden from others. Anxiety grows in isolation, and loneliness only furthers that growth. Let some people and allow light to illuminate the dark places. There is relief found in connection with others. Even if others may not know exactly how you feel or have not been exactly where you are, you may find some healing in their story, and they may find some healing in yours too.   If you know a child or teen that could benefit from meeting in a group with peers experiencing similar challenges, Heritage offers a unique opportunity to help support youth who struggle with anxiety.
Heritage is offering Brave this January
Brave is a group for kids and teens ages 10-14 to learn effective ways of coping with anxiety through interactive activities and processing their experience among peers and professionals. Brave will kick off on January 15th!   Brave will meet on Saturday afternoons from 2:15pm to 3:15pm and is an open group, so kids can join at any time. If you are interested in Brave for your child, teen, or student, one of our therapists would be happy to connect with you! You can sign up by calling us at 815-577-8970 or filling out an interest form online.

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