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Holiday Stress and Overspending

Holidays can be a stressful time of year. There is pressure to make the perfect dinner, give a great gift, spend time with family members you don’t see frequently, and plan fun family festivities. All of this can leave you feeling stressed, depressed, lonely, fatigued, and underappreciated. The holiday blues is a term that accurately describes the mixture of unpleasant emotions one feels over the course of a seemingly joyous time.

Not only can the holidays leave you feeling depleted, you may also be left with a depleted bank account. All too often families feel the need to impress one another with fancy gifts and dinners. Another reality is that people may not have much to offer to begin with and are splurging on each other at this time of year out of guilt.

You are not alone:

Holiday blues and overspending polls:

Although the majority of people surveyed reported feeling happy and in good spirits over the holiday season, feelings of sadness, stress, and fatigue still come up.

“38% of people surveyed said their stress level increased during the holiday season. Participants listed the top stressors: lack of time, lack of money, commercialism, the pressures of gift-giving, and family gatherings.”

Another survey shows 53% of people think the holidays will put a financial strain on them. Also, 20% of people enter the holiday season with no plan to manage their spending.

Factors that contribute to holiday stress

  • Unrealistic expectations
  • Poor coping mechanisms such as drinking which ultimately leads to more stress
  • Unresolved conflicts in the family
  • Not setting or sticking to a budget

For more factors that contribute to holiday stress and depression click here.

Managing holiday stress and overspending:

The good news is that holiday stress and overspending can be managed. You can take control of your holiday and turn it into a well-deserved vacation instead of a dreaded time of year.

  • Discuss expectations with loved ones.
  • Engage in meaningful activities with your family.
  • Stay active. Exercise can help manage emotions.
  • Volunteer with an organization and give back to your community.
  • Practice mindfulness.
  • Avoid impulse purchases.
  • Track your spending.
  • Recognize your coping mechanisms for stress. If they seem negative, seek help.

Dr. Beth Rush a neuropsychologist with the Mayo Clinic highlights three ways to reduce holiday stress in this short video clip.

Some Useful Resources:

Talks about being mindful: Click HERE.

Good resources for managing stress: Click HERE.

Also has good coping strategies: Click HERE.

Coping with financial stress: Click HERE.

Neuropsychologist from Mayo Clinic talking about reducing stress over the holidays. Click HERE.

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