Despite the potential benefits of bringing family and friends together for a joyous holiday season, some individuals routinely dread this time of year because of stress. The source of this potentially troublesome emotion can include difficulties such as scheduling events, paying for gifts, tolerating difficult family members and other issues. It’s important to find a way to handle stress in order to have a happy and loving holiday.
Soothing the stressors of the season
The American Psychological Association (APA) found that 22 percent of Americans report an extreme amount of stress during the holidays, often as a result of economic difficulties. Parents may wonder if they can make Christmas joyous enough for their children. Those with low incomes may not participate in their favorite customs due to financial strain.
The APA advised their readers to adjust their expectations during the holidays. Whether it’s due to money issues, arguments between family members or other mishaps, expected joys can fly away rather than come down the chimney.
Remembering what is most important can help keep perspective when the little things go awry while serving up the turkey or celebrating the Festival of Lights. The base motivations behind these festivities – such as spiritual enrichment – should waylay the imperfections.
People should take care of themselves during the final months of the year to benefit mental health, according to the APA. Long walks, massages and baths can help some individuals relax, as can planning ahead for events and accepting personal limitations.
Embracing the stress
Jason Powers, M.D., takes a different tack when viewing stress during the holidays.
“What if you knew that when you’re feeling stressed, it’s typically because you’re doing something important to you and that your body’s reaction to that stress is actually healthy? It’s come to be known as the stress paradox,” Powers wrote in his Psychology Today article, “Why Being Stressed During the Holidays Is a Good Thing.”
Powers went on to quote Kelly McGonigal, a psychologist from Stanford University, who theorized that people with high levels of stress are more likely to find greater meaning in their lives. Powers and McGonigal agreed that facing stress without the sense of dread can lend positive rather than negative effects, such as heightened awareness and boosted energy. Moderate stress can also improve memory for anyone and build resiliency in youth.
Getting the right mindset to face the stressors of the holidays and other hectic times of the year can be difficult. The Sovereign Health Group is here to help patients deal with crippling anxiety and stress in a healthy way. Call us at our 24/7 helpline to speak to our admissions specialists.