Why are the Holidays so stressful?

For years, Thanksgiving has been my favorite holiday. Let's be honest a holiday that focuses on gratitude, and quality time spent with family and friends is right up my alley. Obviously, the turkey dinner with all of the sides certainly doesn't hurt either. Over the years, as our kids have grown, I have learned to love Christmas too. The excitement in their eyes always brings me so much joy.

A large part of the issue that I had with Christmas is that it has become so commercialized. The holiday, unfortunately, is much more about exchanging gifts, and much less about spending quality time with the people that we care about. The month before Christmas Day had turned into a rat race. It was an enormous source of stress for me.

Rather than enjoying the reason for the season, I found myself in a perpetually stressed state. For a month!

A couple of years ago, I realized that there were a couple of things that I could do to control, and limit the impact of, that stress. 

The most important thing that I have done to alleviate the stress that I felt was to start my shopping earlier. COVID played a large role in this for me because most of my shopping was simply done online that year. I have always been the type that would wait until December 23rd to start my shopping. Then I would be upset when the store would not have the thing that I wanted in the size that I needed... You can see how this would lead to elevated stress levels. Now with a laptop, while relaxing on my couch, I could knock out 75% of my Christmas shopping!

The other thing that is a work in progress is learning to say "NO." This is something that a lot of us struggle with. It can be much harder during the holidays though. Sometimes we need to say no to a holiday party invitation. Sometimes it is (mentally) saying no to your child's request for a certain gift. Sometimes it is saying no to another dessert or drink at the holiday party. This is a great time of year to work on simply saying "NO."

Those were the two big concepts that helped me find less stress, and more enjoyment, during the holiday season.

Hopefully, you can still implement those concepts into your holidays this year! 


Movement is my medicine,

Dr. William "Chip" Bleam

Dr. William "Chip" Bleam


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