I'm not sure why women tend to suffer more from holiday stress. But from what I have seen over the years, there are more women who are weighted down by multiple lists, and the men that I know have a more streamlined experience.
These men haven't had to divest themselves of some ancient and burdensome expectations targeting their holiday performance. I don't think that many of them are even aware of most of what some of us women do.
Not the men's fault. And not the women's, either. I don't know what all the cultural, gender factors for this are. I just know that in some ways I envy those guys ... and in other ways I think I am the luckier one because some of these extras are actually a lot of fun — and consequently, they can be hard to let go of.
According to the American Psychological Association, "Women (44 percent) are more likely than men (31 percent) to report an increase of stress during the holiday season, citing lack of time (69 percent versus 63 percent), lack of money (69 percent versus 55 percent), and pressure to give or get gifts (51 percent versus 42 percent) as primary stressors. "
I think a lot of us women were brought up that way. And I also think some of us got to like the headiness that accompanies acts of creation, whether it's a dinner, or an array of gifts laid out for the kids under gorgeous decorations. How great does it feel to welcome a houseful of guests, into an atmosphere of beauty, warmth and heavenly aromas?
But all this creating can also induce tremendous headaches, financial binds, sleepless nights and panic attacks.
Giving up all — or even just some — of this can be difficult, and distressing. The more so if your feeling of self-worth is tangled up with rendering great performances. And, it's hard to step back from the act of creating something you love.
But in moments when you're wavering about whether you need to downsize ... replay the headaches, money pits, insomnia and anxiety.
Yep. I thought so.
Really, how much fun can actually be stuffed into one holiday season without blowing a gasket? Moderation is key to still being upright when the smoke has cleared and the season has spent itself.