The holiday season is just around the corner – a whirlwind of decorating homes, exchanging gifts, hosting gatherings and holiday shopping may seem like it really is the most wonderful time of the year, but for some, the reality of it is much different.
Although this season is supposed to be a joyous and cheerful one, it can harbour a lot of stress for many. Work, family and friend obligations can feel more like a burden rather than a relaxing time spent on reflecting back on the year. According to a poll done by the American Psychological Association, nearly a quarter of Americans reported feeling “extreme stress” come holiday time. Statistics show that up to 69 percent of people are stressed by the feeling of having a “lack of time,” 69 percent are stressed by perceiving a “lack of money,” and 51 percent are stressed out about the “pressure to give or get gifts”.
Holiday Stress Poses Mental Health Risks
Holidays bring a lot of happiness, but it can also bring a lot of responsibilities and pressures. If you’re concerned with your own mental health or someone else’s, it’s important to be able to recognize the signs of those at risk.
- Excessive worries: Worries that don’t go away or have gotten worse over time
- Physical anxiety symptoms: Rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, etc.
- Panic attacks: Includes feeling faint, trouble breathing, etc.
- Isolation: Possibly a result of anxiety or panic
- Weight gain/loss: Changes in appearance can stem from too much stress/anxiety
- Insomnia: Sleep disturbances often are accompanied by anxiety disorders
- Psychotic symptoms: Hallucinations, paranoia and others can be very dangerous
The good thing about holiday stress is that it’s predictable. Unlike many other stresses that can occur at any given moment, we know when holiday season starts and ends. Here are some tips on minimizing and handling holiday stress:
- Work/life balance: Include yourself in the priority list by making time for yourself
- Don’t use poor coping strategies: Don’t use alcohol, food, etc. to cope. Deal with stress in a healthy way
- Exercise: It reduces the risk of health issues and naturally lowers stress
- Sleep hygiene: Good sleep habits is an important part of coping with stress
- Time management: Plan ahead so you are not rushing or feeling stressed
A Message from Netsweeper
The holidays are often a time that we focus on others. Don’t lose sight of who you are by prioritizing your mental health care, especially during this busy time of the year. Always, especially during high stress times, make time for yourself and take the necessary steps to prevent stress or depression. Learn your holiday triggers so you can tackle it before they lead to mental health issues.
For more blogs related to mental health, check these out!
- Screen Time and Mental Health: The Connection Between Social Media Use and Depression
- Bouncing Back: How the Education System can Help Students Suffering from Mental Health
- How to Support Student’s Mental Health During Coronavirus
Submitted by: Natasha Pande