The holidays! They " re supposed to be a time of warmth, happiness and excitement. For many people, they are. Although for some, the season can be a paradox. Joyous feelings, family and religious traditions can be overshadowed by stress, fatigue and gloom-"the blues." In addition to all of the gifts, goodies, decorations and events, the holiday season can be filled with many pressures.

The holiday blues, as the name implies, tend to be temporary and seasonal. Factors that commonly contribute to the holiday blues tend to fall into three major categories: psychological, financial, and physical. Intense feelings of loneliness and sadness are a part of the psychological factors. Most of the time these feelings are generated because something significant is missing for the first time during the season: A family member or loved one may have passed away or may be far from home. In addition, if you " re already feeling depressed or isolated, seeing others having a good time may make the situation worse.

There may be unresolved issues between family members that commonly cause feelings of uneasiness when everyone gets together. This can cause stress by constant emotions being held back in the interest of keeping peace in the family. Another psychological factor that may cause stress during the holiday season is expecting too much out of the holiday season. If a person has that picture perfect idea of the holiday season in his or her mind, the holidays may fall short of their expectations and create feelings of depression. The thought of all the extra money that needs to be spent on holiday gifts can cause stress too. Financial factors increase stress levels in people during the holiday season.

Many people have financial difficulties without all the extra expenses of gifts, charities and additional expenditures for guests. If they decide not to overspend, they may feel they didn t meet others expectations Another financial problem for some may include unforeseen circumstances that produce a budget shortfall. The result is that a person can t spend as much as he or she would like or purchase that special gift. Let s face it, problems with money can really create a stressful holiday season. All the walking around to find the special gift can cause a different type of stress. This type of stress is physical stress.

Physical stress takes many forms. The strain of shopping, attending social gatherings, baking holiday goodies and decorating the house can make people tense or fatigued. Too much food and drink during the holidays can also cause weight gain, which can be especially frustrating if you " re trying to lose weight. So as you enter the holiday season, please remember just to relax and take things as they come. It s a good idea to find some peaceful moments during the holiday season and reflect on the positive aspects of your life.

More importantly, take the time to remember the real reason for Christmas and celebrate your religious traditions. If you learn how to relax and take control of your life your holiday can be less stressful and more enjoyable.