holiday season is almost here, and while for many people this time
of year is joyous and hopeful, a recent poll found that 41 percent
of respondents rated the holiday season as just as stressful as
interviewing for a new job. For others, the holidays can trigger
severe anxiety or even depression.
Many factors can contribute to the holiday blues. To begin with,
there’s the time crunch. Just because there are more parties
to attend and shopping trips to make doesn’t mean any of us
work fewer hours or get a break from household obligations—we
just try to cram more activities into the day. Then there are the
financial burdens. The rewards of being generous to close friends
and family may outweigh the price tag—but what about extended
family, old friends from school, and coworkers? Where do you draw
the line? And finally, the holidays can be truly painful when they
recall the loss of those who are no longer celebrating with us because
of death, distance or divorce.
The bottom line is that often many of us have unrealistic expectations
of the season. We think that we should have time to do everything,
buy gifts for everyone, and be happy and joyful, even if that’s
not how we really feel.
The good news? It usually is possible to ward off the holiday blues
by recognizing the demands we place on ourselves. This year, make
the decision to enjoy the holiday season by approaching it differently.
Some ideas are listed above.
If you are concerned about your own feelings of anxiety or depression,
see your primary care provider for an evaluation or contact the
Employee Assistance Program, a free and confidential resource available
to all employees, at (800) 345-4047.
Reining in the holidays
with your family and loved ones, and make a holiday plan
based on what everyone agrees is important. Don’t assume
you know what everyone wants out of the holidays.
over-schedule yourself or your family. If you try to attend
every event, you may not enjoy any of them.
your time realistically, and don’t feel badly about declining
invitations to events that give you more migraine than merriment.
a budget. Stick with it.
yourself time alone to refresh and recharge.
drinking and eating excessively.
the help of friends or family when you feel overwhelmed.
If you have children, give them small jobs—their willingness
to help may surprise you, and they’ll be proud of their