The Holidays: Season of Giving, Family, and Stress

The holiday season can be a joyous time but also very stressful from many different aspects, many are all too familiar with.

Adults: Battle long lines to get that perfect gift for those that they care about, especially the children in their lives.   The endless search from store to store for last minute requests and endless Internet searches that will deliver that item before that December 25th deadline. In addition to looking for the gift, the stress of having the finances to pay for the gift places a tremendous amount of pressure on an individual and can be problematic for one’s mental health. Added stressors may result in an increase of irritability, anger, and depression.

Children: Yes, children can become stressed as well! Constant worry about the gift they will receive can affect their mental health. Some children may not worry about getting the perfect gift, but simply want to receive something to share the joy that many of their peers experience during the holidays.

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The gesture of giving and receiving gifts often overshadows another element that may affect one’s mental health; an inability to be with loved ones. From Thanksgiving to New Years, many activities revolve around family but this may be a hard time for some.

For instance, someone may have lost a close relative earlier this year and the holidays bring up memories of good times but also the hurt of losing that person. Or a person’s work schedule may not permit travel and they are forced to miss out on seeing their family. This is really an issue if the holiday falls on a weekday and over time many retail stores do not even close during the holidays.

When I was a child, the only thing that was open on Christmas morning was the local gas station and grocery store until noon. If your parents forgot the batteries for your new toy, you would have to take the batteries out of the remote control. LOL

During the holiday season, we must take care of ourselves mentally by finding ways to reduce our stress and we must also be aware of others who may be having a difficult time during this season. An increased awareness of ourselves and others is worth more than any gift that you can buy this season.

Remember that it is not always about giving a gift but it is about showing someone that you care. This could be a simple gesture of inviting someone that is alone to dinner or writing them a nice holiday message (and no…the mass group text that you send to everyone in your phone does not count).

Enjoy the season and Happy Holidays!