Have you ever noticed how challenging it is to spiritually prepare for Christmas? The weeks leading up to Christmas – the Advent season – are intended to be a time of preparation for Christmas, yet our seasonal to-do lists can often get in our way. Checking off all of the items on that list in time for December 25th on top of all of your everyday normal duties can seem like a superhuman task. The stress of navigating the crowds at the store, decorating, keeping the family drama to a minimum, and attending holiday parties can make it difficult to really enjoy what the Advent season is all about.
Every year, the American Psychological Association (APA) conducts research into one particular area of stress. One year, their research focused on the stress that Americans experience during the holiday season. Their findings showed that, while positive emotions (love, happiness, and high spirits) were associated with the holidays, both men and women reported experiencing increased stress during this time. The primary sources of stress that the study identified were time, money, and commercialism or hype surrounding the holidays. People worry about the increase in spending during the holidays and finding the time to get everything done. Work stress is also a factor during the holidays. The research revealed that people become stressed about participating in holiday celebrations at work and balancing work with holiday celebrations. With findings like these, keeping the spiritual aspects of the Advent season and Christmas can seem easier said than done.