The Holiday season
Knowing how to manage stress and anxiety, especially during the holidays will boost your mental health. It is that special time of the year, we spend with friends and family, doing lots of cooking, eating, and drinking. Furthermore, it is a time to attend parties or events, put our feet up, watch our favorite movies, or complete those series on Netflix.
Fun facts about the holidays
Christmas trees usually grow for close to 15 years before they can be sold.
The tallest Christmas tree ever displayed was in Seattle, Washington. It measured 221 feet tall.
Jingle bells was originally a song about Thanksgiving in 1857. It was also the first song ever played in space by astronauts Walter Schirra Jr. and Thomas P. Stafford.
Can the holidays cause stress and anxiety?
The holiday season can be a cause of stress and anxiety because there are people who suffer from mental health. Moreover, overindulging and many factors could be a trigger for those with mental health issues.
Definitions of stress and anxiety
Stress can be defined as a change that causes physical, emotional, or psychological strain. Anxiety is a feeling of fear, dread, or discomfort. The question is how do we avoid or manage stress and anxiety?
Five causes of stress/anxiety during the holidays
The five causes of stress and anxiety during the holiday are:
1. Family gatherings,
2. Social engagements,
3. Financial strain,
4. Trauma and,
5. Loneliness during the holiday.
Managing stress and anxiety during the holidays
Family gatherings: Family gatherings are a good time to catch up with your loved ones, enjoy good food, and have fun. Organizing these parties can be overwhelming. Start planning weeks or months ahead with well-detailed, all-season, journals that are great for organizing stress-free parties all through the year.
Social gatherings: Social engagements are great but make sure your calendar is not packed back-to-back. Choose the events that are most important, or you may attend but share time between events, more like, killing two birds with one stone.
Financial strain: Inflation has made people spend more on gas and groceries. It is suggested that I out of 10 may not do Christmas shopping this year. Those under financial strain may be reluctant to attend family gatherings. Also, the need to impress with gifts may be another cause of anxiety. Still, there are inexpensive valuable gifts out there, that will be appreciated, i.e., hand-crafted items, books, or planners.
Trauma: There is a saying that “Only the wearer knows where the shoe pinches.” Those who lost a loved one or experienced a breakup during the holidays, or a broken engagement, may shy away from gatherings; as they may stir up memories and trigger anxiety. Notwithstanding, it would be a good time for doing the one thing you’ve always wanted to do. For instance, learning how to bake Christmas cookies, or writing a song, or book. You could learn how to play your favorite instrument, or try out handcrafts, painting, sculpting, and pottery.
Loneliness during the holiday: It is easy to feel lonely if your loved ones live far away or if there is a strained family relationship. If you choose to attend those family gatherings, be deliberate about not discussing touchy subjects, save it for another day, or address it in private. The mood should be light and fun at such gatherings. Look for some relaxing things to do afterward. If your family lives far away, phone calls and video calls with Zoom or Skype will make the difference. In addition, spreading the holiday cheer, and imbibing a community spirit, works wonders in my opinion.
Conclusion: There is no rule in black and white or a general solution to reduce stress or anxiety. We all have different ways of coping or handling situations. Keep track of your mental health
by identifying your stressors and managing them during the holidays.
Never forget to talk to someone you trust or see a professional if you have to. Happy holidays!!!
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Sources and Related Articles
3. Mental Health During The Holidays: Coping With Anxiety And Depression
4. Building better mental health https://www.helpguide.org/articles/mental-health/building-better-mental-health.htm#:~:text=Mental%20health%20refers%20to%2