Holidays are fun for most of us. We all loved vacations and the summer holidays. They are a fun part of the year for all of us, filled with celebrations, parties, family, and friends gathering. Some holidays are filled with sadness, self-reflection, depression, and anxiety. The most wonderful part of the year can also be stressful. Holiday stress is also known as holiday blues.
The feeling of sadness is a personal feeling. Because of the sadness, the year’s most wonderful time can turn into the most stressful time of the year even though the person loves holidays. The pressure of attending parties, going shopping, family obligation, and house guest can contribute to the overwhelming feeling, which results in headaches, excessive drinking, overeating, and insomnia.
In some cases, people tend to develop stress after the holiday. For example, after New Year’s Day, people felt disappointed and stressed because of the previous year’s expectations. This common holiday pressure, when compound with mental illness, can become a negative situation stressor.
Holiday stress can affect children too. High expectations and demand can leave a lot of people feeling stressed and exhausted. Holiday stress is not a recognized disorder or any disease, but a type of mental health problem.
Sign And Symptoms Of Holiday Stress
Stress can be deteriorating to the body and mind in many ways. When stress and anxiety don’t stop firing, the stress level increases and stays longer, which can troll your health and cause chronic stress. The persistent feeling of sadness during holidays is the most common symptom of holiday stress. The stress symptoms include: –
- The feeling of exhaustion and fatigue
- Loss of interest in enjoyable activities
- Lack of pleasure in usual activities
- Less concentration power
- Trouble in making decisions
- Feeling sad most of the time
- The feeling of loneliness and withdrawal from friends and family
- Body aches
- Insomnia (inability to sleep or sleep less than expected)
- Sleeps much more than usual
- Mood swings
- Weight gain due to overeating
What Causes Holiday Stress And Anxiety?
There are many reasons why people experience holiday stress and anxiety. People who have an existing mental health condition are more likely to experience holiday blues. Mentioned below are some causes.
- Stress: Due to stress, it is sometimes difficult to feel the pleasure of a holiday celebration, and your holidays can be hectic.
- Unrealistic expectations: People tend to set higher sights and then fail to live up to expectations, which causes stress and anxiety.
- Extended family: Dealing with extended family can sometimes be straining when you don’t get along.
- Isolation: People who have poor social support and loneliness can lead to holiday stress.
- Financial difficulties: When people overextend yourself financially or increase the demand for expensive gifts, it increases the burden.
- People who can’t go home during the holiday due to the work or job misses their families and friends. It makes the person lonely during the holidays, causing holiday stress.
- Fatigue and exhaustion
- Over commercialization of holidays create expectations for holiday cheer and nonstop joy. This expectation can pressurize to feel the same that causes holiday stress.
How To Diagnose And Treat Holiday Stress?
A simple physical and history exam can be conducted by the medical professional to diagnose the holiday stress. To find some other medical condition, the health care professional can perform lab tests and other tests. To treat the holiday stress, family medicine physician and internists.
One can consult a psychiatric, psychotherapist, or mental health professional for anxiety, depression, and stress. People with holiday blues should start socializing more, healthy eating habits, set sleeping routines, and take time to rest and rejuvenate. One can also take antidepressant medications, but before that, consult the doctor.
Start by paying attention to the things that cause the holiday stress. Understanding them and start taking steps to control the triggers. Don’t let the holidays become a headache and hectic for yourself. Try to reduce the expectation and connect with the families and friends. You can treat it by paying attention to the stressors. Start planning and think positively; it can help you to find peace and joy during the holidays.
During winter holiday months, feeling sad may also be a sign of seasonal affective disorder (SAD). It is known as a major depressive disorder with a seasonal pattern. But SAD only lasts for winter, whereas the holiday stress lifts after the new year begins. If anxiety and sadness last for a longer time, then consider consulting a doctor.