Is it the most wonderful or overwhelming time of the year?

Published: Dec. 8, 2022 at 6:58 AM MST
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - The holidays are supposed to be enjoyable, but for some they can be a time that trigger stress, anxiety, and depression.

“This holiday season, 2 months turn into a place where a lot of people are stressed out,” stated Dr. Monica Vermani, a clinical psychologist and wellness coach.

She explains this can happen because of a variety of different reasons including recent loss in the family, feeling overwhelmed from the amount of family obligations you have, anxious about how much you’ve spent, or even indulging in too many substances whether that’s food or alcohol.

“The holiday season is supposed to be a celebratory, happy time for people and it turns into a time where people feel anxiety driven, overwhelmed, confused.,” said Vermani. “It’s a time that actually brings a lot of good and bad together. So, it’s a time to kind of just take a pause and reflect. What are things about the holidays that I like, what are things about the holidays that I find frustrating or difficult to deal with.”

To ease some of these feelings, there are a few different steps you can take.

If you’re worried about spending too much money over the holidays, try setting a budget and really sticking to it. Start a family gift exchange instead of buying a gift for everyone. Consider thrifting, re-gifting, or making your own presents for loved ones.

Be realistic with the plans you make. You don’t have to make it to every family event or social gathering you are invited to. Learn to say no and decline invitations if you don’t want to attend.

If you are feeling overwhelmed or anxious, don’t self-medicate with substances such as alcohol or drugs.

“Remember, alcohol and drugs are depressants. They depress your central nervous system. They do bring you down and so many of us do feel lethargic from a hangover or have anxiety the next couple of days,” explained Vermani and suggests practicing healthy habits over the holidays such as getting a lot of sleep, eating a little healthier and drinking plenty of water.

If you do feel isolated or alone, do not hesitate to reach out for help whether that be from a religious community, family member, or a professional.

Don’t be afraid to acknowledge your feelings and let the holidays become something you dread.