The holidays are supposed to be a time of joy and happiness. Friends and family come together to enjoy each other’s company, show gratitude, spend time with each other, and exchange gifts. But the holidays are not worry-free from everyone. In fact, the holidays can be a time of great stress for many people.
Holiday Stress Triggers
There can be many triggers during the holidays that can cause stress episodes or symptoms to worsen. Some of the triggers that you may experience during the holidays are listed here.
- Crowds – Being around a lot of people and noise can cause the senses to go into hyper drive, creating a very stressful situation for some people. Crowds may even trigger panic attacks for some people.
- Food – The holidays are usually associated with over-indulgence, and if you struggle with an eating disorder, the holidays can be especially depressing. Many people experience guilt after over eating.
- Bad memories – If your childhood was difficult around the holidays due to divorced parents, or you lost a loved one around the holidays, this can be a very stressful time as all those memories are stirred up.
- Financial problems – Financial stress is one kind of stress that takes on a very physical presence in your life. Worrying about money takes a toll on your body. I have been there before. Concern about how you are going to feed your family or provide them with the Christmas they deserve and buy presents, can mount quickly and weigh heavily on your shoulders.
- Seasonal changes – Lack of sunlight has a very real effect on many people. The time change can certainly mess with our bodies and the darkness triggers depression at the same time every year.
- Exhaustion – Over-committing, or not being able to say no, can have you ending up with too much on your plate. You feel like you have to do all the shopping, and cook all the food, and bake all the cookies, and host all the parties, and do all the things your children want to do.
- Loneliness – Even though you are surrounded by people, it is very easy to feel lonely during the holidays. Maybe you are wishing you had a special someone to spend the holidays with. Maybe you are far away from your family. Feeling alone is intensified by the holidays.
Being pro-active during the holidays is the key to keeping your stress level down. Planning in advance will help you stay on track and ensure that you don’t over do it. Staying on top of your mental health will also help with your stress level during the holidays.
Holiday Stress and Therapy
If you experience holiday stress, you should also try online therapy. BetterHelp provides convenient, discreet and affordable access to a licensed therapist. Professional counseling is available anytime you need it. You can chat through messaging, telephone calls, and even video, on your computer, tablet or smartphone. BetterHelp is so affordable too. It costs between $40-70 per week. In-person therapy can cost anywhere between $75 and $200 per session. It only takes about 5 minutes to complete the questionnaire and sign up.