In fact, the presence of stress at Christmas has been documented by scientific research. One study found that 44% of people who regard Christmas as ‘satisfactory’ also admit to being stressed at this time, while another study suggested Christmas can cause heart attacks, stating that in the 12 year study, there was a clear spike in cardiac deaths during the holiday season which could be due to emotional stress of the holidays, overindulgence during the holiday season, or both.
“A great place to start down the path of holiday cheer is to recognise the things that trigger holiday stress before they show up, and be fully equipped with ways in which to deal with those triggers.”
How to avoid 3 of the most common Christmas stress triggers
Trigger #1 Buying Gifts
“Shopping for gifts for friends and family can be one of the most stressful parts of the season. Changing your persepctive can be one of the best ways to beat the stress before it occurs.”
“Think about what gift you could give someone that would create a change in their world? Focus on making gifting fun, rather than resenting the act itself.”
“If you’re stressed out financially, get creative. Consider giving homemade gifts, or speak to your friends about giving to a charity instead. Those that truly care about you will be grateful for the thought and the time spent.”
Trigger #2 Long Days and Busy Schedules
“The additional activities of the season can really start to wear us down. Events for our kids, office parties, family get-togethers - all of this leaves us running around trying to accommodate everyone and may leave you feeling as if you don’t have time for you, which is a must,” says Dain.
“Even if it’s just 30 minutes a day, try to go out in nature, take a bubble bath, read a good book, dance - whatever is fun for you and relaxes you. Choose for you first, then you’ll experience more joy with the activities you have to do with others.”
Trigger #3 Unhappy People
“Ever noticed that people tend to be more cranky leading up to the holidays? Ever tire of going to gatherings with people that you work with or people that you call family that are generally just unhappy? Not so much fun for you. Don’t spend your time only with the cranks,” says Dain.
“Write down the names of five people that put a smile on your face. Make plans to hang out more with these people during the holidays. In fact, call them and schedule it in your calendar. You'll be amazed at how it will de-stress you and give you the energy to handle the other (less-happy) people you are obligated to be around during the holiday season.”