With Christmas just gone by and New Year around the corner, you can't help but pay attention to the festivities around you. The fireworks don't seem to end no matter how hard you try. Even in your blankets, you know someone outside is having a blast and maybe you chose not to or just can't celebrate for whatever reasons but the sheer pressure of enjoying is taking over.
What is Festive Anxiety or Holiday Stress?
Embracing the festive season that is around the corner - Christmas and the new year, it’s that time of the year when we start slowing things down and look back to the whole year in retrospection and look forward to a year full of possibilities. It’s time for celebrations, gatherings and making new year plans. It’s also time for slowing down, wrapping up and just being. The holiday season for many people can also be a source of stress and anxiety. While these are absolutely normal situations to go about at the end of the year, we often find ourselves getting overwhelmed by the pressure of celebration, get-togethers and party pictures floating across social media. It can get stressful for those who want to stay in solitude, relax, unwind or might feel low due to the cold and lack of sun exposure. Festive anxiety, also known as holiday stress, is a common phenomenon that can affect people of all ages and backgrounds.
What Might be Causing You to Feel Anxious During Festivals or Holiday Season?
The following factors add up to making the holiday season overwhelming for many:
In contrast, others can embrace the joy and light which surrounds them. But, it can get even worse for those who are already suffering from mental health issues around the festive season. The National Alliance of Mental Health has mentioned that 64% of people who suffer from mental health concerns found worsening symptoms around holidays.
We did talk about those who don’t want to celebrate or face aggravation in their mental health conditions during these festivities.
But, what about those who want to celebrate but can’t? How it contributes to their Festive Anxiety or Holiday Stress is also something that needs a specific mention over here. The American Psychiatric Association in November 2021 conducted a survey on 2119 adults aimed at understanding certain causes for Festive Anxiety or holiday Stress as is commonly referred to.
The findings were interesting from the perspective of someone who wants to but can’t celebrate due to varied reasons like the following and experiencing Festive Anxiety-
Finding and Affording Gifts
Around 40% of the participants were worried about finding a gift for the upcoming holiday season and 46% were concerned about being able to afford any gifts. The finding and affordability of gifts is a significant reason for Festive Anxiety in people who want to celebrate but can’t.
Contracting the COVID Virus
Missing Family Members
Facing health issues or being a caregiver to someone who is experiencing some health issues is also a major reason for those who want to celebrate but can’t, to slip into the whole festive anxiety mood.
How to Deal with Holiday Stress or Festive Anxiety?
Here are some tips to follow for both those who don’t want to celebrate and those who want to but can’t celebrate-
Prioritise: Consider what is most important to you during the festive season and make time for those things. Let go of tasks or activities that are not as important or that are causing unnecessary stress.
Set Realistic Expectations: It's important to remember that the festive season doesn't have to be perfect. It's okay to let go of some of your expectations and focus on the most important things.
Take Breaks: Make time for rest and relaxation, even if it's just a few minutes here and there.
Practice Self-care: Take care of your physical and emotional well-being by getting enough sleep, eating healthy, and finding ways to manage stress, such as through meditation or exercise.
Seek Support: Talk to a friend, family member, or professional about your feelings of overwhelm. It can be helpful to share your struggles and receive support from others.
Remember, it's okay to take things at your own pace and do what works best for you. It’s important to prioritize your own well-being and to make time for self-care during the holiday season.
At MentAmigo we understand that it is not as cosy and serene for everyone as it might be for some people and therefore it is very important to provide a safe place for those who are experiencing Festive Anxiety or Holiday Stress.
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