It’s the holiday season, and for many, that means gathering with friends and family to celebrate and give thanks for all we are blessed with. As nice as the idea of getting together with family and friends seems on the surface, though, for many this can be a time of great stress. Why is it that time spent over the holidays with family can be so stressful? It may have more to do with your expectations than the annual meltdown over the turkey.
For most people, family gatherings during the holidays are rarely stress-free. Maybe you have that cousin who ruins dinner by igniting political debates, or the turkey is burnt, or your relatives won’t stop asking you about what you’ll do after you finish school.
Sometimes these situations are small, unpleasant blips in otherwise enjoyable celebrations. But for some, the feelings go deeper—many people dread the holidays, becoming stressed or anxious in the weeks leading up to a family get-together. Why is that familial stress especially potent during the holidays? Popular Science spoke with a few experts to understand what causes that stress and steps that individuals and families can take to offset it. read more