Holiday Stressors

Holiday Stressors

Old songs call it the most wonderful time of the year, but the holiday season carries a high degree of stress for many people. The final months of the year include added pressures that may affect well-being, relationships, finances and other factors that contribute to anything but a merry and bright time.

Common causes of holiday stress

Although it sounds obvious, the best way to manage stressors is to remove or avoid them as much as possible. (This is often easier said than done.) Are there holiday-related events or tasks that are daunting? If so, consider the cost of not doing them (if there is a cost) versus keeping them on your list of obligations.

An overbooked holiday schedule is not the only thing that can cause strife and discontent, however. Here are other seasonal but common causes of stress, anxiety or depression:

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

As daylight hours become shorter, the rates of depression increase. If you are diagnosed with SAD, follow your doctor’s advice. Options include light therapy, counseling and medication.

Unrealistic expectations

These anxiety-producing thoughts and feelings can either come from external sources or ruminate in our minds. Outside expectations from family members, children, bosses, friends and others can leave you feeling like you are not enough or that you are spread way too thin. Internal expectations can push you to do more than is healthy or reasonable.

Financial difficulties and debt

According to a Magnify Money survey conducted in 2020, more than 30% of shoppers went into an average of $1,380 of debt for holiday gift buying and other expenses. This type of strain on your budget lasts far longer than the celebrations.

Loneliness and family issues

Memories of pleasant holidays or comparisons between your life and others enjoying the season can exacerbate loneliness. With so much focus on sharing time with others, people without positive familial or social connections can experience more sadness during the holiday season than during other times of the year.

Tips to alleviate stress

If you find you are overstressed, that you just do not feel like yourself, or that all the joy has been zapped from the most wonderful time of the year, try out some of these stress-alleviating techniques.

  • Identify negative self-talk and immediately refocus on a more positive message.
  • Maintain a healthy eating and exercise regimen to minimize physical stress.
  • Keep your distance from toxic or negative people. Focus on quality relationships.
  • Use positive affirmations and take the time to pamper yourself.

The holiday season may come with more stressors than at other times of the year, but self-care, tempering expectations, reaching out to positive people and sticking to both financial and time budgets will help you avoid a blue Christmas and instead focus on the warmth of the season.

Article Sourced from