Given continued economic uncertainty, the holidays have the potential to create additional challenges this year. Families are cutting back, people are worrying about job security or unemployment, and seniors are concerned about their retirement. Such worries are stressful, and the American Psychological Association (APA)'s 2011 Stress in America survey found that 22 percent of Americans report an extreme level of stress.
If you are already experiencing stress in other areas of your life, you may be especially vulnerable to increased anxiety during the holidays. However, it is important to view the holidays as an opportunity to enhance your psychological well-being. Remember, there are conscious steps you can take to prevent holiday stress and ensure a worry-free season.
APA offers these tips to help handle holiday stress
How a psychologist can help
If you continue to feel overwhelmed with stress, consult with a psychologist or other licensed mental health professional. He or she can help you identify problem areas and then develop an action plan for changing them.
Psychologists are uniquely trained to understand the connection between the mind and body. They can offer strategies as to how to adjust your goals so that they are attainable, as well as help you change unhealthy behaviors and address emotional issues.
Practicing psychologists use a variety of evidence-based treatments — most commonly psychotherapy — to help people improve their lives. Psychologists, who have doctoral degrees, receive one of the highest levels of education of any health care professional. On average, they spend seven years in education and training following their undergraduate degrees; moreover, psychologists are required to take continuing education to maintain their professional standing.
Learn more on talking to your children about the economy.