In a new study, it was announced that Americans are stressed about the holiday season, but not as much as last year.
The holiday season is widely known as “The most wonderful time of the year,” but some want to avoid the holidays as they can be a major stressor.
Sesame is a telehealth marketplace that helps people get in touch with doctors that specialize in various health practices. A recent study conducted by the website, discovered two in five Americans—down from three in five Americans— feel their mental health is affected in a negative way during the holiday season.
The study consisted of asking 500 people over the age of 18 in the United States about where their mental health stands during the holiday season and the things that cause stress, anxiety and depression.
Here’s the breakdown:
- 49 percent of study participants admitted feeling an increase in anxiety during the holidays—down 11 percent from last year.
- 41 percent feel a rise in depression— an 11 percent decrease from 2021.
- Fewer participants (19 percent) are less worried about the COVID-19 pandemic—down from 64 percent in 2021.
- However, stress about finances remains the same at 64 percent.
- With the stress Americans are feeling during the holiday season, 38 percent think about going to a therapist for their worries.
- However, 17 percent would like to seek therapy, but can’t afford it while 10 percent actively see a therapist.
- Some participants (26 percent) want to see the holidays completely canceled due to the stress that comes with them. Last year, 56 percent of Americans wanted no holiday celebrations.
So, what causes holiday stress?
The study has found that the rise in inflation (38 percent), gift shopping (19 percent), handling “difficult family dynamics” (15 percent), and the COVID-19 pandemic (9 percent) are the top reasons for stress.
With the pandemic still in play, 43 percent of Americans will not be traveling out of town to see family and four in 10 will see less family and friends this year while 40 percent will be saying “no” to big gatherings this year.
“From a clinical perspective, there are a lot of reasons why the holidays can be stressful,” Dr. Allison Edwards, medical director at Sesame told Newsweek.
“Physically, our bodies are often experiencing overload—lack of sleep, staying up later than normal, eating less healthy foods than we typically do, and consuming more alcohol, just to name a few things. Holidays often involve travel, which can throw our bodies out of our typical routine and rhythm and expose us to many more people—and the germs they carry,” Edwards exclaimed.
Holidays can also be stressful on the emotional side as well, Edwards added, that can include having a lot on our minds, having to remember “painful memories,” and having to deal with difficult family dynamics.
How to handle stress during the holidays
- Take care of yourself: “It’s easy to put yourself last on the list this season or feel like there is no time to rest with a long list of things to do,” Edwards said, “Even 10 minutes here and there is helpful to reset, recharge and relax. Do things you typically like doing: yoga, reading, listening to music, exercising, and sleeping are all good ways to de-stress.”
- Set boundaries and keep to them: If you’re feeling “too overwhelmed” with any holiday-related event, Edwards suggested taking a step back and saying no to any events that seem too much.
- Stay connected and keep a support system: It’s important to surround yourself with trusted family and friends. “If you feel the need to isolate or hibernate, reach out to them for support—and don’t be afraid to seek professional support. Mental health is health,” Edwards reminded Newsweek readers.
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