Simply spending more time than usual with family or friends, while apparently enjoyable, can turn out to be one of the biggest stressors of all. This is especially true for those of us who are separated from loved ones at this time through divorce, separation or widowhood.
Feelings of loneliness and isolation are heightened by the seasonal emphasis on happy families that we see all around us. It is hardly surprising that organizations such as the Samaritans report a sharp rise in numbers of callers over the Christmas period.
For many people, the economic downturn has already caused immense stress and worry. The additional demands on our pockets at this time of year simply pile on yet more stress and add to our anxiety over financial difficulties. Coupled with the shame and guilt often experienced when dealing with money issues, this means that many people beat themselves up even more over not having enough to provide festive food for the table or presents for the kids.