The Winter Holidays Impact On People With Generalized Anxiety Disorder

The winter holidays can have a huge impact on individuals suffereing from generalized anxiety disorder.

Generalized anxiety disorder (or GAD), despite its name, is far more intense and debilitating than the everyday anxiety experienced by most people.  Even when there is no discernible reason, sufferers of GAD experience chronic feelings of elevated anxiety and these feelings are often exacerbated by the hectic pace of the winter holidays.

If you are diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder then it is likely that you spend a lot of your time worrying excessively and tend to expect disaster to strike at any moment.  You probably also find it hard, if not impossible, to relax and this means that, for sufferers, generalized anxiety disorder during the winter holidays can prove particularly trying for both you and those around you.

The following are signs and symptoms that someone may experience  when suffering from generalized anxiety disorder:

• Nausea
• Breathlessness
• Dizziness
• Fatigue
• Headaches
• Muscle tension
• Difficulty swallowing
• Hot flushes
• Trembling
• Irritability
• Sweating
• Need to visit the bathroom more frequently
• Difficulty concentrating

Clearly, any of these could prove embarrassing or difficult to handle in a social situation such as a Christmas or Thanksgiving family dinner or party. 

Unlike sufferers of social anxiety disorder, however, most of those diagnosed with GAD do not consciously avoid certain situations as a result of their disorder.  While this can be a good thing as far as the holiday season goes, it is still advisable for sufferers of generalized anxiety disorder to take steps to lessen their symptoms during what can be a stressful time for everyone.

As GAD rarely occurs alone but is often accompanied by depression, substance abuse or another anxiety disorder then this must be taken into account when prescribing treatment.  Similarly, as medication is often used to control GAD then it is wise to consider any contraindications and to avoid alcohol and excess sugar, caffeine or other stimulants whenever possible.  Quite apart from other concerns, both alcohol and caffeine interfere with sleep patterns.  As those suffering from GAD often find it hard to get to sleep, or to experience uninterrupted sleep, then anything which further disrupts rest can only add to the already debilitating effects of this condition.

Given the temptations of the winter holiday period with its parties and other social gatherings, avoidance of alcohol and rich, sugar and fat-laden food can often prove difficult.  This is where sufferers of generalized anxiety disorder need to set limits for themselves and to understand that, by controlling their intake of substances which can only worsen their condition, they are helping to control the condition itself.  Simply knowing that they are in some small way in control can have a positive impact on those diagnosed with GAD, allowing them to see that they can still enjoy the winter holidays as long as they work within the limitations of their condition.

How To Reward Yourself And Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

This time of year becomes a concern for anyone trying to lose weight or avoid holiday weight gain.

Avoiding holiday weight gain becomes a challenge with increased stress, busy schedules, getting together with family and friends, and the temptation of high calorie rich foods.
If you are wanting to reward yourself and avoid holiday weight gain make it imperative to follow the 4 strategies listed below:
1. Create a Calorie Deficit
Creating a calorie deficit will allow you to indulge in many of the holiday temptations without breaking your weight loss goals.
If you create a calorie deficit most days of the week you will be able to enjoy yourself during those holiday parties and get togethers.
Start each morning with a healthy, low-calorie, high-fiber meal.  Low sugar fruit like berries and grapefruit are good choices, as well as low-fat protein sources like cottage cheese, yogurt, or egg white omelets (toss some healthy veggies in there too, like spinach, broccoli, mushrooms, and onions).  Your lunch can consist of light salads with lean protein (a grilled chicken salad is a great choice) and low-fat dressing.  Dinners can include more lean protein like fish, along with small servings of whole grains and still more high-fiber vegetables.
Drink a large glass of water before each meal so you eat fewer calories and add to the calorie deficit even more.  Increasing the length and/or intensity of your workout routines each day can also help you burn more calories so you can eat more calories later in the week.
2. Avoid Treats Until The Parties
If you normally include a few treats in your eating plan during the week, cut those out or reduce the quantity you eat, and that will allow a bit more room for indulging during the upcoming parties and gatherings you’ll be attending.
3. Prioritize Your Treats
Weight gain during the holidays is the result of overindulging repeatedly, but you don’t have to do that.  When you attend parties and gatherings, don’t view them as opportunities to gorge yourself.  Instead, look at all of the foods available and decide which of them appeals to you most.  You don’t have to eat everything – just pick a few that you REALLY want to try, and have small servings of those.
4. Focus on the Festivities
After you’ve enjoyed your treats, move away from the food and spend time enjoying the festivities.  Holiday celebrations are not all about the food!  Get involved in discussions and party games.  Introduce yourself to new people, and catch up with people you don’t see that often.  Remind yourself that there are endless ways to enjoy yourself beyond eating.
Anyone can avoid holiday weight gain by planning ahead and creating a calorie deficit, so you are able to reward yourself and still achieve your weight loss goals.

The topic of how to avoid holiday weight gain most certainly comes up as we move in to the month of November.Creating a calorie deficit will allow you to indulge in many of the holiday temptations without breaking your weight loss goals.