Why are so many people filled with stress during the holidays? The answers are complex. The holidays begin around Halloween, extend to Thanksgiving, and come to completion at Christmas and New Year. So, why do the Holidays become a problem for some people?
In the last two years, the Covid Pandemic and fears of spreading or catching the virus prevented many from traveling for the holidays. One of the most challenging problems for many people is the financial stress caused by supply chain issues and inflation. Salaries have not kept up with the inflation rate, and rising interest rates on everything from credit cards to mortgages now complicate that.
People who feel lonely during the year will feel it more keenly when families are together and celebrating.
Those who can experience an increase in loneliness are those older people who have lost many loved ones, and whose children and grandchildren live far away.
Loss can be felt with a renewed keenness at this time of the year because of all the memories that are inevitably stirred up.
Family life is often stressful, and getting together with parents and other family members can provoke or renew old feuds. Instead of being a time of joy, it becomes a time of resentment and conflict.
There are usually expectations of friends and family, such as providing gifts. However, the problem that often emerges is what gifts are most appropriate and most wanted by relatives, friends, and extended family members.
There is a lot of stress associated with this time of year because dinners have to be prepared, which means a lot of cooking.
Are Things This Bad During the Holidays?
The answer to the above question is unnecessary. For example, it is not true that the suicide rate increases before, during, or after the holidays. In addition, the holiday season does not create or cause depression, anxiety, and loneliness. Instead, those with mental illnesses may feel it more keenly now. Social isolation, loneliness, and depression are indeed miserable ways to feel. Still, those are problems that did not start with the holiday.
Some Coping Mechanisms
I think it’s important not to have high expectations about family behavior when everyone gets together. A realistic approach will cause much less disappointment afterward.
Do not refuse to go if neighbors invite you because they recognize you are alone. Even if you struggle with social phobia, it is better to accept than to refuse.
During the entire year, it’s essential not to self-medicate with alcohol and drugs. All that does is increase depression.
The connection between exercise and improved mood and function is a proven fact. Lots of exercises are beneficial. It’s always important to consult your physician before starting an exercise regimen.
Finally, it’s essential not to over-eat just because it’s holiday time. That doesn’t mean that people shouldn’t indulge a bit. Still, it’s important not to overdo it for those who are already seriously overweight, have diabetes, heart conditions, or other health problems.