THE CAUSES OF HOLIDAY STRESS

The Holiday Season isn’t always the Hallmark experience that it’s cracked up to be.  Sometimes the unwelcome visitors of stress, anxiety and depression arrive well in advance of the Holidays.  Ninety percent of Americans who completed a survey indicated that they feel stress during the holidays and 24 percent experience difficulty with family members. 


Forty-five percent of Americans would prefer to skip Christmas, according to a survey from Think Finance and reported on NBC News. That should tell you something about our coping mechanisms when it comes to handling holiday stress. It’s a widespread problem. Nearly a quarter of Americans reported feeling “extreme stress” come holiday time, according to a poll by the American Psychological Association. Holiday stress statistics show that up to 69 percent of people are stressed by the feeling of having a “lack of time,” 69 percent are stressed by perceiving a “lack of money,” and 51 percent are stressed out about the “pressure to give or get gifts.”


However, with some practical tips, we can minimize the stress and depression that often accompany the holidays. We may even end up enjoying the holidays more than we thought we would.  Here are some insights into understanding the causes of Holiday stress.

THREE MAIN TRIGGER POINTS:


The three main trigger points of holiday stress or depression:


  1. Relationships.  Family relationships can cause turmoil, conflict or stress at any time. But tensions are often high during the holidays. Family misunderstandings and conflicts can intensify, especially if you’re all thrust together for several days. Often family members have different personalities, needs and interests. On the other hand, if you are facing the holidays without a loved one, you may find yourself especially lonely or sad.

  2. Finances. Like our relationships, our financial situation can cause stress at any time of the year. But overspending during the holidays on gifts, travel, food and entertainment can increase stress as we try to make ends meet while making everyone on our gift list happy. That kind of a financial spiral may leave us with depression symptoms such as hopelessness, sadness and helplessness.

  3. Physical Demands. The strain of shopping, attending social gatherings and preparing holiday meals can wipe you out. Feeling exhausted increases stress, creating a vicious cycle. Exercise and sleep - good antidotes for stress and fatigue – may take a back seat to chores and errands. High demands, stress, lack of exercise, and overindulgence in food and drink - are all ingredients for holiday illness.

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