Ho Ho Ho Holiday Stressors



Don’t let stressors get you down.

Tymber Sandvig, Staff Writer

The holidays are finally here! As excited as we are for this jolly time of year, holiday blues are about as apparent as Christmas carols. Holiday blues are completely normal and talking about them is important in order to support yourself and anyone who may be struggling. They can unlock a lot of inner demons, and there is a surplus of stressors but there is also seasonal depression. 

Seasonal affective disorder or SAD relates to the changing of seasons and is linked to depression. As the seasons change, SAD may start in the fall and continue through the winter months. SAD could be even worse for people with pre-existing mental health conditions. 

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), 64% of people with an existing mental illness report that the holidays make their condition worse. Acknowledging the struggle of those with SAD is very important in order to create a safe and supportive environment where everyone feels comfortable. 

Though similar, holiday blues and SAD are not the same things. Holiday blues are the feelings of stress and sadness caused by the holidays while SAD is linked to temperature changes. SAD lasts for a few months while Holiday Blues may only last for a week or so, however SAD and Holiday Blues can have a massive impact on each other. The stress of holidays can increase the effects of SAD. Holiday blues are psychologically based on the past, whether a specific event is a cause or the holidays, in general, it sets a stigma that the holidays are going to be stressful and the brain is prepared for that by doing what it does, sending you into a state of blues. 

Be selective with your time and plans. You know that saying “Don’t limit yourself?” Yeah,  we’re going to temporarily throw that out the window. During the holiday, there is so much to do, but sometimes you have a choice so just DON’T. If you stretch yourself too thin it will only make it worse for yourself and those around you.  Decide what you believe is worth it by sitting down and deciding what makes you happy at the idea of doing that. 

Money is a big stressor during the holidays, and it can never seem like you have enough. In order to make the most out of what you have, start to budget more, and set a certain amount for the necessities such as food, gas, and bills if you have any. Traveling is very common during the holidays, so if you have traveling plans here are a few ways to be financially prepared. Budget travel costs such as gas and/ or plane tickets, extra money for spending, transportation, emergencies, food, and hotels.  As you get ready to purchase gifts, write down and research what gifts you want to buy based on the set budget you have for gifts. This system will help you minimize the extra stress caused by finances. 

To bring this article to a close, let’s cover a significant stressor that can be added to your list; families. Families can be complicated and confusing, whether it’s the family drama or the over-questioning, there is so much that boils up. In order to minimize your stress, set boundaries (if your family knows what that is). Don’t be afraid to take a step away, those walks with your cousins could be a lifesaver. Prepare yourself a few days before they arrive, give your brain some time to process that way when your family arrives you are ready. Remember that you don’t see them that much, the less you see them means the less you have to deal with them, it makes it easier to handle them because the time in which you do see them is minimal.