Holiday Stress in an Already Strange Year


Although these festive months bring hot cocoa, Santa, and special treats, the holidays also bear sadness, stress, and pressure.

The Mayo clinic, a nonprofit academic medical center based in Rochester, Minnesota, explained that “the holidays often present a dizzying array of demands – cooking meals, shopping, baking, cleaning, and entertaining, to name a few” that may leave people “feeling additional stress.”

The stress is even more prevalent this year. Safety amidst the pandemic is the top priority, and this means sacrificing certain things, like traveling and close contact with distant relatives, all of which are typical holiday season staples.

Kate McDermott, of Duxbury, Mass., finds parts of the holidays, especially this year, stressful.

“Usually it is a very relaxed time, however this year it is more stressful,” she explained. “It is hard to spend time with the people you love.”

Besides the pandemic, Kate struggles with other aspects of this time. “Thinking of ideas for presents and getting them to your loved ones is challenging,” she said.

Kate handles these stressors “by taking a deep breath, using my resources, and being thoughtful around the holidays.”

Freshman Camille Arm of Concord, New Hampshire, and her family of four celebrate in what she called a “traditional” way, and for her, this year isn’t particularly tough.

“This time of year, is not really stressful for me because I actually enjoy buying gifts, but I know it is stressful for my mom,” she remarked. “She copes with her stress by going on runs, or baking cookies.”

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has some strong words for those who would prefer to travel to see relatives.

“Hard choices to be apart this year may mean that you can spend many more years with your loved ones,” advised the CDC on its website.

Although the holidays can create negative energy, The Mayo Clinic wrote, “don’t let the holidays become something you dread. Instead, take steps to prevent the stress and depression that can descend during the holidays.”

Their suggestions include planning ahead, setting aside familial differences, and setting realistic goals for yourself. They also encourage people to keep up healthy habits. “With a little planning and some positive thinking, you can find peace and joy during the holidays.”