Stress tends to increase around the holidays. Photo by for Pexels

The holiday season may be deemed the most wonderful time of the year, but that’s not the case for some in the community.

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Some of the top areas of stress concern are getting sick, finding, and affording gifts and missing family members around the holidays.

Americans are five times more likely to say their level of stress increases 41% during the holidays, according to a poll from The American Psychiatric Association. To address mental health around the holidays on a local level, HHM Health is hosting virtual holiday stress workshops this Friday and on Dec. 20.

The clinic’s Director of Behavioral Health JJ Larson will have the workshop group identify, understand and recognize stress, which can include the good and the bad surrounding the holidays.

“I also am planning to go over what the 12 stressors of the Holidays are and how to “detangle the tinsel” (stress) to hopefully have a smoother holiday season,” Larson says.

Here are other points Larson made about dealing with holiday stress.

  • What are some of the biggest stressors around the holidays?

No matter if you are diagnosed with anxiety or depression or not, everyone experiences some stress during this time. Some of those stressors are dealing with difficult relatives, food and healthy eating, gift giving, emotional wellbeing, travel, and social events. All of this at the same time can become very overwhelming.

  • What are symptoms that might be missed that someone is experiencing stress?

Holiday stress looks very much the same as the day-to-day stress we see and may even experience. Some of the more hidden symptoms of stress can include: feeling fatigued most of the time, hives or other skin rashes, worrying more than usual, tension or more frequent headaches, changes in your tolerance for physical pain, digestive issues – pain and/or bloating.

  • How can the community cope during these times?

Being in a community creates a sense of connection to others. This can include a church, family, a neighborhood, friends or a Facebook group. The connection can help us with the three A’s that can really make a difference for a person: acceptance, affirmation, and acknowledgement. Even brief interactions of chatting and laughing with others can offset a focus on our worries and stressors. Community helps us experience inclusion, belonging and mattering.

Both Holiday Stress: Surviving & Thriving virtual workshops, Dec. 16 and 20, will be from noon to 1 p.m. To reserve your spot, call 214-221-0855.