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We expect the holidays, and especially the New Year's holidays, as a time for rest, fun or long-delayed meetings. It should be a time to relax and gather strength for an energetic start to the new season. For some, the holidays are really a time of enjoyment, and for others just bitter pills of despair, disappointment, sadness and betrayed expectations. As numerous psychological studies show, they are more and more often a source of stress and a trigger of depressive feelings for more and more people, and fewer and fewer days are filled with pleasure, joy and relaxation.
Triggers of holiday depression can be divided into three groups:
Interpersonal relationships can be tense, conflicted, or stressful at any time, but tensions are usually elevated during the holidays. The holidays are, somehow, the right time to be together. Family misunderstandings and conflicts can intensify - especially if they are all directed at each other for a few days. It is enough that so many different personalities, needs and interests are gathered. On the other hand, if you are waiting for a holiday without anyone particularly close, you will probably find that you are extremely lonely or sad.
Like relationships with people, the financial situation can be a source of tension throughout the year. However, increased spending on gifts, travel, food or entertainment can increase the experience of stress if you are trying to make ends meet and it is important for you to satisfy everyone on your gift list. You may find yourself in a financial predicament that brings symptoms of depression - hopelessness, sadness and helplessness.
Increased physical requirements
The race for shopping, attending social gatherings and preparing holiday meals can be exhausting, which increases stress. Recreational activities and good sleep are usually neglected, and exhaustion becomes the main ingredient of the holiday illness. During the multi-day holidays, we eat a lot, drink intensively or sleep irregularly. We know that during the holidays, many indulge in overeating and that the main focus of many holidays is on food. A lot is prepared, bought and brought with the expectation that, of course, it will be eaten. It is almost rude if you do not serve yourself, if you eat only a little or you do not really want to eat something that someone has prepared especially for the occasion. After a good meal on the principle of "little by little" (which usually means a fairly large portion), it's time for coffee and / or a cigarette. Should we emphasize that, even with a glass or a bottle of alcohol, this is a special stress for the body?
A holiday in which the family is in the first place, many are faced with the truth that the warmth of home and family closeness have been lost somewhere. It is worth reminding that most families spend only a few hours a day together, because of work, school or recreational activities that each member plans for himself. During the holidays, the members' familiarity with each other throughout the day can be very irritating. Despite that, holiday rituals take place, a holiday table is prepared and an unrealistic, idealistic image of a harmonious family is heated. Alienation, and perhaps conflicts that have been pushed under the rug all year round, are covered by excessive consumption of alcohol and high-calorie foods. It burdens not only the stomach, but also the psyche, so emotional stress is impossible to avoid.
The holidays are the hardest for those who lost a close person between the two New Years and Christmas, who divorced or sent an adult child on their way. If in the end they are left completely alone between the four walls - sadness and hopelessness prevail, directing them to the question of the meaning and content of their life, which only intensifies self-pity, often provoking the thought of suicide. A special experience of loneliness and suffering exists not only when it comes to these but also all other holidays when the family usually gathers. We need to go through at least one annual cycle in order to, after spending those same, once differently designed holidays, learn to spend or at least more easily tolerate after parting, losses or changes.
We know that not everyone understands problems or pleasant things in life in the same way, nor is the "breaking point" for everyone in the same place. Reducing the negative effects of stress is significant, whether someone is an introvert or an extrovert because stress affects physical health. For especially shy and closed people, the holiday season is often anything but a period filled with love, serenity and pleasure. If we ask ourselves how not to make these days bitter for ourselves, but to give ourselves days of courage and optimism, there are only global guidelines that should strengthen positive and suppress negative feelings, and everyone practices individual models of overcoming.