The holiday season brings plenty of joy. However, it is important to recognize the mental and psychological stresses that many people face at this time of year, including social isolation, personal grief, financial woes and seasonal depression. Studies have shown that stress and anxiety levels increase at this time of year.
Mick Cassell, founder and president of ThinkWell-LiveWell, is a clinical hypnotherapist, CBT and NLP practitioner and an expert on holiday stress. He’s studied and practiced mindfulness and meditation. With “Stressmas” upon us, Cassell cites the top three holiday stressors and offers ways to cope with them:
- Having expectations: Demands are so high this time of year to have the “perfect Christmas” and to share all of your milestones and accolades with family and friends, but some of us have experienced significant setbacks over the course of the year. Make sure you are realistic with the expectations you set for yourself, and use meditation and mindfulness to boost your resilience.
- Conforming to a norm: The pressure is on from family and friends to conform to societal norms during the holidays, even if those norms are uncomfortable or unsuitable for you. It is critical to mentally prepare yourself for being taken out of your comfort zone and leave time and space to mentally recover.
- Looking Inward: Rumination and introspection are the third major cause of sadness and stress over the holidays. It is important to guard against factors that exacerbate negative self-perceptions by keeping busy decluttering, tidying up your home, volunteering, and doing other positive things regularly to maintain a healthy perspective. •