Christmas is just one week away. Whether you have decided to experience a little holiday gumption, try out some holiday planning, or tune out the day altogether (I completely understand),  I want to share my treasured go-to anxiety hack with you, to calm those Christmas nerves.

About a year and a half into my grief journey, I began seeing a psychologist that armed me with an incredibly simple way to combat a present anxiety attack.

During one of our visits, we were trying to discuss how I felt about being widowed but my mind was completely blank. We discovered that I had stowed away my grief so well, that I couldn’t even describe it.

As we explored words to identify the way I was feeling, I felt faint and literally thought I was going to pass out. The room became spotted, grey and started to blur.

She jumped up out of her chair and said, “I’ll be right back!”

I thought this was a horrible moment to up and leave me half fallen out of my chair. Thankfully, seconds later she came running back in the door with a ceramic mug filled with ice and said:

“Wrap your hands around this and just breathe.”

Half out of it, I did just that and within seconds I found myself coming back around. The anxiety I felt was gone and I felt surprisingly calm. As we continued to talk, I was amazed at what this simple cup of ice was doing for my body. My temperature was returning back to normal and I felt extremely grounded to my body through contact of this object.

Seven years later, I still use this little hack when I experience an anxiety attack because it works like a charm, every single time!

If you find yourself experiencing an anxiety attack on this upcoming Christmas holiday, fill your favorite mug with ice, wrap your hands around it, and breathe in a quiet space as you reach your calm.


My widow journey began in 2011 when I was 27. My late husband passed away from injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident. My re-entry into life has been difficult, but my relationship with God, being diagnosed with PTSD and my passion for music, dance and science have greatly helped me get back on my feet. I am currently preparing for graduate school and volunteer as an endometriosis educator for the Endometriosis Foundation of America.

I have so much that I look forward to sharing with you and I hope that you may find something in my writing that will bring hope to your own journey, help you through the tough days, and show you that happiness can be found in the midst of grief.

You can follow me on Instagram at @kellcann