Despite the many unique ways in which American families celebrate holidays, a common holiday theme appears to be increased levels of stress. Data from the American Psychological Association suggests that approximately 69% of Americans report increased levels of stress during the holiday season. Stress can be defined as the body’s reaction to any change that requires an adjustment or response. As you may imagine, hosting your in-laws or finding the perfect Ugly Sweater for your office party has the potential to incite a stress response in many individuals. Indeed, holiday stress can occur for a multitude of reasons, but the primary sources of distress are reported as a lack of financial resources, time constraints, and challenging family dynamics. Experiencing social isolation or grief can transform this joyful time of year into a particularly painful time. Perhaps more than any other time of year, it is crucial that we are actively engaging in routines that support
wellness during the chaotic season. Increase your capacity for stress management by getting adequate sleep, going for walks, or whatever activites you find relaxing. If you find yourself feeling like Ebenezer Scrooge, you are not alone! Despite the media’s depiction of jovial Santas and exuberant caroling families, we are all suspectable to holiday stress. Regardless of the challenges that the holiday season can present, it also affords us an opportunity to take pause and take inventory of the many blessings in our lives. It also affords us an opportunity to engage in small act of kindness which can go a long way in spreading the holiday cheer. Lastly, if you are struggling this holiday season, know that there are resources in the community which can offer support.
Kate Dalton-Wise, LCSW
Children’s Friend & Family Services