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Mental health professionals report that stress, anxiety, and financial strain rise during the holidays



Mental health professionals report that stress, anxiety, and financial strain rise during the holidays

People are wrapping up last-minute shopping and preparations for Christmas, which can have a serious negative impact on mental health due to increased stress and anxiety.

The holidays are a time to celebrate and spend time with loved ones, but it’s not always a tranquil one.

“Seventy-seven per cent of individuals reported holiday stress, with over half of them stating that Christmas is the most stressful holiday,” said Holly Whyte of YEG Psychology.

Therapists in Edmonton report that during this time of year, more people suffer from anxiety and depression and feel more stress in their daily lives.

“Anything from just overall overwhelm with the combination of work and needing to prepare for the holidays, how busy the supermarkets are and everything like that, all the way to stresses with family dynamics, being alone,” said therapist Luke Suelzle with Insight Psychological.

Financial strains are also increased this year due to inflation and growing prices. According to psychologists, people frequently experience guilt if they don’t spend enough money during the holidays. Remembering not to go over one’s financial limits is important.

“The number one reported stressor is financial because there is almost this expectation that we have to buy, often not just one present, multiple presents for our children, our spouses, our coworkers, other individuals in our lives,” Whyte said.

“Making a budget and sticking to it is extremely important at this time of year. Know what fits within your means and not somebody else’s, because everybody has different means and budgets.”

According to Whyte, a lot of events that occur over the holidays can cause PTSD. Some people might be sad because it’s their first Christmas without a loved one.

“I see a lot of first responders or people who have to work during the holidays too, so they might be missing out on typical celebrations with Christmas morning with their kids.”

Suelzle added that during the Christmas season, people frequently overcommit and take on too much. He advised against deviating too much from your regular habits.

Make time for self-care, he advised.

“Take an evening for yourself when you need to,” he said. But it doesn’t have to be a whole night. Suelzle also suggested shorter breaks. “Deep breathing if that’s something that works for you. A mindful moment if that’s something you’ve got experience with as well.”

Additionally, there’s a lot of pressure to feel festive, but psychologists argue that happiness isn’t a prerequisite for celebrating Christmas.

“A lot of us feel that need to put on a big fake smile and dole out Christmas cheer all over the place, but it’s important to be mindful about what our needs are. It’s OK to take time to yourself, it’s OK to say no,” Suelzle said.


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