You know June is doing it’s job when it suddenly hits you, next week is the 4th of July! No need to panic – although, that’s real right? For some a holiday comes with instant anxiety, preconceived notions about unmet expectations, and triggers from years past. This doesn’t sound like a whole lot of fun, does it? No. What we do know is that if we want to experience something new, we have to think and act in new ways. For those who struggle with large crowds, loud noises and unfamiliar faces, this holiday can be one of the hardest to work on a new mindset and healthy boundaries. Here’s our guide for those who need a little extra support to celebrate a happy and healthy 4th.

  1. Set positive expectations. This may sound foolish, especially if you struggle with anxiety, but if you are only playing out negative scenarios in your head and awaiting everything and everyone to fail you, you can’t really be surprised every time it happens, can you? What is one positive expectation you can set FOR YOURSELF for this holiday? Here are some suggestions to get you thinking: I expect I will spend time with family and friends, and I will look for something positive in each of them. I am looking forward to a day of new things.
  2. Start to plan. Part of planning is communication. If you know you will need breaks at events or maybe to leave early, send a text now, “I will be at the BBQ on the 4th, and I am looking forward to it, just a heads up, it looks like I may have to scoot out early, so I wanted to let you know.” DONE! Or “I am looking forward to coming over on the 4th. I was just wondering, if I need a break, is there a good place to sneak away for a bit? Maybe I can put my bag there when I get there?” Now the scene is set, you will have your security items like a book or journal in the safe place, and it’s set before you go!
  3. Self-Care. We can’t wait to take care of ourselves after we have impacted ourselves. If you know holidays strain you, start to get more sleep now. A lack of sleep impacts our anxiety and our moods. Add journaling, meditation, these help your nervous system and to regulate your thoughts. Eat well and drink water! Eating poorly and being dehydrated can really cause us to behave in ways we shouldn’t, add in anxiety on top and it’s not a great mix. However, if you are well rested, you’ve spent time grounding yourself and you’ve come well nourished and hydrated, you are much more ready to actually enjoy yourself than find yourself needing care at an inopportune time.
  4. Learn Your Go To. What is a go to for you in an overwhelming situations like the 4th of July? Is it wearing noise canceling earplugs to parades and fireworks, so you aren’t as bombarded with sounds? Is it wearing clothes that really feel nice on your body and having good sunglasses, so nothing is ever too bright or too dark? Do you need or want to do a drive from your location if it’s new, so you don’t have to worry about getting there or parking that day? Think of what your go-to can be so the day can be more comfortable for you!
  5. Focus on the positive. This is redundant but true. Your brain loves this. What is good in that moment. What can you see, hear, taste, smell, feel, and say that is positive? Why are we celebrating? What makes today special? Finding connections to the holiday, the food, décor and all around you can help to bring you back into yourself when overwhelmed.


Lastly, if you are feeling anxious and it’s starting to interfere with your everyday life or you start to have a physical reaction you aren’t sure of, this is why there are professionals there to help. Medical and mental health professionals are especially aware around the holidays of how much stress and anxiety we all carry. They are there to help you as best as they can if you let them. Never hesitate to reach out for help and in our area that can be as simple as calling 988 just to see what your best options might be.

Holidays are supposed to be fun and full of memory making! However, each person has something different going on. Maybe this year is much more unexpected than others, maybe you find you are celebrating in a different way, without someone for the first time or just not celebrating at all, which is ok too. All that matters, on all days, is that you are safe both physically and mentally, which means being present to how you think and feel. If mild feelings of holiday blues are stealing your joy, try our guide and see if it can help you slide into a more interactive and joyful place. Everyone deserves a happy 4th!