October is just around the corner, which means shorter days and longer, darker nights. It is also one of the busiest times out of the year, as we have an almost insane number of Holidays coming up. Have you ever wondered if the Holiday season can have a bad influence on your mental health?
Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year. And it is, to most people.
I mean, think about it. Not only do we have the holidays coming up, but we also have a lot of shopping to do. Shopping for Halloween, shopping groceries and food for Thanksgiving, Christmas dinners and New Year’s.
For some people, this time of the year is rough. Because it gets darker and colder outside, some people are more tired, irritated and moody and they have zero energy, even if they sleep soundly through the night.
As if that isn’t enough, there are a lot of social and family gatherings going on during this period. This can be tough for those with social anxiety disorder.
Increased stress levels
A research study from the American Psychological Association suggests that 38% of people in the study experienced increased stress levels during the Holiday season.
A study from Principal Financial Group suggests that 58% of people in the study experienced financial stress because they spend a lot of money on food, groceries, and presents during the Holiday season.
The Happiness trap
Okay, so why is it that people feel stressed in the Holiday season? Well, there is a certain amount of pressure to be happy and jolly during Halloween and Christmas, as this is expected from your surroundings.
People around you set high expectations for this time of year. There are several stress factors that can make you feel stressed. Top stressors include:
- No time to get everything ready
- Financial/money worries
- Over commercialization
- Pressure of giving gifts to family and friends
- Social and family gatherings
- Travel plans
- Taking time off work in order to go home
Feeling lonely during the Holiday season
Many people also feel lonely during this season, because they don’t have any family to celebrate with. Maybe you have lost a loved one recently and it’s your first Christmas without them. Depressing thoughts will be a big part of this season, and it can be difficult to find joy and happiness.
In fact, if you feel sad or depressed for longer than two weeks, I would advise you to seek help from a professional as they will help you get through this season with different tools. I always advise to seek the help of a professional.
What can you do to feel less stressed?
The thing is, we love our routines, right? The Holiday season equals change. You have to find time for family and friends, you probably have to make travel plans in order to go home to your family, you have to buy Christmas presents and maybe even plan a Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner.
All of these are external stress factors that you suddenly have to incorporate into your life, and we know for certain that any changes and anything abnormal in your life, make you more stressed and anxious.
In order to avoid feeling less stressed and anxious, there are a few things you can do.
If you already know at this point that you are going to hate the hassle of the Holiday season, you need to start planning everything you can now. If you know what will trigger your stress and anxiety, you can prevent it by planning.
Write down a huge list of all the Holidays and events that are going to be important in the next few months. Beneath the Holidays, you can write down what you need to get done for this and that Holiday.
Remember to always prioritize what is most important. Do you need to buy a plane ticket home for Christmas? The sooner you book it, the cheaper it will be. If you book it at the last minute, the price is always higher. What is most important to get done? Write it down.
Make a Holiday budget
Do you feel anxious about the amount of money you have to spend on food, groceries, and presents? During the summer you can make a budget for the Holiday season.
You should write down how many people you are buying presents for and what the price is for each present. You can also make a savings account just for Holiday presents as you will need to use a large amount of money on presents.
Personally, I set aside $45 every month starting in January. This way, when we reach November/December I have around $540 just for presents, all though minus birthday gifts throughout the year.
Taking $45 out of my salary every month for presents is not a huge amount for me to save, and this way I also don’t go on a spending spree when I actually have to go and buy presents for everyone. It doesn’t work for everyone, but it has worked great for me.
Click on this post to learn how you can plan an effective budget for the holiday season.
Remember to take a break when you need it
Being surrounded by people, coworkers, friends, and family every day can be tough. You need to take some time off to just be yourself. It’s ok to say no to an invitation. You don’t need to go to every event coming your way.
Have a relaxing night in instead. Watch Christmas movies, read Christmas books, take a hot shower and use a face mask afterward, make hot cocoa with marshmallows. Be kind to yourself and you will be able to face other people at gatherings.
What do you do to stay on top of the Holiday season and feel less stressed? I would love to know your strategies below…
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