A study by the American Psychiatric Association found that Americans are severely stressed around the holidays. Why does it seem like everyone is stressed, anxious, or depressed around the happiest time of the year?
We’ll explore why people say they’re feeling like this during the holiday season, some quick tips for coping, and how your primary care physician (PCP) can help diagnose and treat these issues.
Why Americans were stressed and anxious during the holiday season
Here are a few reasons why people say they stress during the holidays:
- Stress about finances (gift giving, traveling, etc.)
- Not being around loved ones or feeling lonely
- Negative social and family dynamics
Of all the contributing factors, the greatest — accounting for 37 percent of stress — is the financial strain people experience around this time. Expenses such as flights, groceries, and gifts for loved ones can strain finances and leave people feeling like they’ve overspent or embarrassed if they couldn’t afford these items.
Another major factor that plays into holiday financial stress is inflation. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, the average price of holiday gifts drastically rose in the past few years, with gifts in 2021 costing 6.9 percent more than the previous year. The projected cost for 2022 is set to rise another 3.4 percent.
It’s important to note that these stressors can lead to depression. Sometimes stress, anxiety, and depression all happen at once, and one condition may cause the other to appear or worsen. Balancing these issues is complex, and the first step is acknowledging which condition you’re struggling with and what stressors are causing that struggle.
How do we combat holiday anxiety and stress?
It can depend on the severity, but sometimes you can try a few options to reduce your holiday stress. If you’re still feeling stressed after trying these tips and are experiencing anxiety or depression, you need to take further steps to manage it.
Coping mechanisms to reduce stress:
- Set realistic expectations and goals for the holiday season.
- Make time for yourself to relax.
- Keep track of holiday spending. Overspending could lead to more stress and, in turn, depression.
- Limit your drinking. Drinking alcohol in excess can exacerbate your anxiety or depression.
- To combat any loneliness you might experience, try volunteering.
How your primary care physician can help diagnose and treat your stress and anxiety
Are you having trouble coping on your own? The good news is that your primary care physician can diagnose and prescribe medication for anxiety and depression if your issue is more than just typical holiday stress. Depending on the severity, they might refer you to a therapist, as sometimes it is beneficial to combine medication with therapy. But remember, the first step is as simple as contacting your PCP; you don’t need a specialist to get this done.
At Healthcare2U, our Direct Primary Care (DPC) membership is a low-cost, easy-to-use option for people who want access to care but can’t afford the exorbitant cost of health insurance. Our membership also simplifies access to primary medical care, eliminating confusion when navigating healthcare. With our DPC membership, you get access to physicians across the nation, any of which can diagnose your anxiety and depression and recommend methods to help you cope and manage it.
Contact us to learn more about how Healthcare2U’s DPC membership can help you.