It should be the season to be jolly, yet sadly, too many folks are describing this time of year as more stressful than magical. Welcome to what is commonly known as the “holiday blues.”
A telephone survey conducted by the American Psychological Association recently demonstrated that – compared to other times of the year — out of 786 individuals polled, 44 percent of women and 31 percent of men felt more stress during the holidays. In addition, 51 percent of women and 42 percent of men said purchasing and giving gifts only added to their distress.
Although the holidays continue to be a time of joy for many, we must also acknowledge that the holiday season can trigger symptoms of anxiety and depression. There are many contributing factors to such feelings. Just the time change alone is said to cause as many as a third of people with a history of a major depressive disorder to experience a worsening of their symptoms. Depression is the world’s most common mental ailment, affecting approximately 16 percent of adults at some point in their lives.
If we have learned anything about the stresses of this time of year, it is that we cannot force ourselves to be happy just because it is the holiday season. People are faced with a dizzying array of demands. Schedules can become overloaded; stress is at its peak. It is hard to stop and regroup.
As pointed out in a study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, any kind of stress can strain relationships and cause us to withdraw from others. Perhaps unsurprisingly, a 2015 study found daily hassles like working, running errands, and money troubles negatively influence romantic unions, causing people to feel less satisfied and more alone in their relationships. When people are anxious and fatigued, it becomes more challenging to see someone else’s point of view. This may explain why family feuds seem more likely to arise during the holidays. (Read more from “Chuck Norris Asks: ‘Tis the Season to Stress” HERE)