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Send holiday stress down the chimney

Christmas and New Year’s can be a stressful and even a sad time of year for some people.

As the Christmas carol goes, “You’d better not cry.”

But if you feel like it, you wouldn’t be alone.

Christmas and New Year’s can be a stressful and even a sad time of year for some people. “The holidays are a time that can be very joyful, with celebrations, good food and time spent with family. But they can also be very stressful because of numerous demands placed on people,” says Katy Kamkar, a clinical psychologist in Toronto.

Metro asked Kamkar, who is acting treatment head of the Work, Stress and Health Program at
the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, to explain why the holidays can be a downer for some people.

• Social stress
Some people find the social obligations overwhelming and exhausting. Tensions can build at family gatherings.

• Negative connotations
If this is the time of year when a loved-one died or something upsetting happened, you may be feel sad or lonely.

• Financial pressure
The holidays are expensive. Knowing you’re going deeper into debt makes you feel distressed.

• Travel tensions
Delays and bad weather can cause anxiety and worry.

• Perfectionism
Trying to make the perfect meal, get the perfect gift, and have the perfect home decor contributes to even more stress.

• Bad health
If you already suffer from stress, depression or anxiety, the holiday season can often add to those feelings.

• Anxiety
For some, going to crowded places like the mall can increase symptoms of stress.

• Addiction
People who are trying to abstain from alcohol or other addictions may have a harder time during the holidays.

• Overindulgence
People tend to neglect nutrition and exercise goals, which takes a physical toll.

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