Why do family gatherings stress us out?

For many of us, the happiest memories are festivals times during our childhood. Delicious food, nice gifts, and relatives that we haven’t met for long. However, things are changed when we grow up. It is far from a vacation. Festivals to us means endless to do lists, planning, shopping and organising. There is not much room left for us to enjoy. Have you ever stop a while and think why we tend to stress out around those who should be closest to us? And how can we prepare to manage that stress?

First, we tend to have high expectations and want nothing but perfection. We always dream of having a holiday like what we have seen on TV and movies. And that’s a lot of pressure. Second, people are trying to be considerate of others and often overextend themselves and then feel resentful for it. Third people are afraid they are doing enough, or not giving enough. Finally, people resent having to show up out of obligation to spend time with others.

During festival seasons, the demand for energy is far more greater than our capacity. How are we going to enjoy while our stress levels shot up? It is more of a “threat” when we lack of energy to cope with having family around and making a memorable festival. Add to that a diet that’s usually amped with sugar and caffeine, sleep schedules that are thrown off by travel or late nights celebrating, decreased movement and exercise from sitting around chatting, or changing our usual routines in order to cater to having company (or being company for someone else).  This can cause irritation and frustration  because subconsciously we feel they’re taking up time and energy we just don’t have.

Best way to cope with stress during festival season is to keep up our regular routines to the best of our ability. Munch more healthy veggies while enjoying other dishes. The fiber and antioxidants will help balance out the rest. Go to bed at a reasonable hour. Catch up will be more enjoyable when you are well-rested. And incorporate healthy activities into the gathering.

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