If it’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year Why do I feel so stressed? Part 1

 In General Counseling

For some the holidays bring feelings of excitement and joy but for others the holidays bring feelings of stress, chaos and loneliness. There are lots of reasons to view the holidays with stress or even dread.  We may think if it is the most wonderful time of the year, why am I a Grinch?  In a 2011 article, Consumer Reports identified eleven jeers instead of cheers of the holiday season.  Here are four of the reasons.

 

Kids jingle belling

Expectations that we must give our child/our spouse/our co-worker the latest and most popular items for Christmas bring with it both emotional and financial burdens. Finding the perfect gift is only the beginning. There are also crowds to fight and the debt incurred. Fighting crowds was the number 1 jeer identified by 68% of respondents in the Consumer Reports article while getting into debt was the 3rd biggest jeer identified by 37%.

 

There’ll be parties for hosting

The inevitable holiday parties have their own set of challenges. Is my house perfect, what do I serve, who do I ask? These are just a few of the questions we face during the holiday season. It is tricky to find the right balance and knowing when to say no.

Another challenge of the parties is the worry of weight gain and too much of a good thing both food and alcohol. We often excuse ourselves and indulge too much during the holidays by rationalizing that it is only once a year.

 

Hearts will be glowing when loved ones are near

Not every heart glows when loved ones are near. The pressures of family expectations and a “we have always done it this way” idea often dim the glow. Perhaps your cousin always brings up your most embarrassing choices that make you want to crawl under the holiday table.

Or perhaps you don’t have a family and you spend the holidays alone. How can I be glowing if I am alone? We compare our lives and isolation to others who we believe are living a Hallmark movie. There is a real contrast between what we are experiencing and our hopes and dreams.

 

Everyone telling you be of good cheer

Having to be nice was identified by 15% of the participants in the Consumer Reports article as a holiday jeer. Many people feel pressure to be of good cheer even when they are not. It is irritating to hear others laughing and enjoying themselves when you feel alone, sad, depressed or stressed.

Reduced sunlight in fall and winter may disrupt your body’s internal clock and lead to feelings of sadness or depression. Often changes in sleep patterns and moods accompany the holidays.

 

Be aware of how the changes in seasons impact you physically and emotionally. Check back for Part 2 on some ideas for managing the stresses of the holiday season. If you are feeling overwhelmed, pleas contact us at Water’s Edge Counseling.  We would love to help.

 

Consumer Reports

Holiday Jeers

 

  1. Crowds and long lines: 68 percent
  2. Gaining weight: 37 percent
  3. Getting into debt: 37 percent
  4. Gift shopping: 28 percent
  5. Traveling: 25 percent
  6. Seeing certain relatives: 24 percent
  7. Seasonal music: 23 percent
  8. Disappointing gifts: 19 percent
  9. Having to attend holiday parties or events: 16 percent
  10. Having to be nice: 15 percent
  11. Holiday tipping: 12 percent

 

References:

 

Consumer Reports https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2011/11/americans-top-holiday-dreads-mdash-being-nice-makes-the-list/index.htm

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