Financial pressures, gift-giving worries, and family tensions can make holiday season stressful. Image Credit: Unsplash/Kira Auf Der Heide

‘Tis the season… for stress?

Click start to play today’s Crossword, where you might end up saying ‘Bah humbug’ when you’re struggling to cope with holiday stress.

As joyful as it can be to spend time with family and friends, holiday season can also leave us feeling anxious, with feelings of constraint. According to a 2021 report by the American Psychiatric Association, a survey of 2,000 adults found that 41 per cent experienced an increase in stress during the holidays. Reasons for it involved financial pressures, gift-giving worries, and family tensions.

In the midst of trying to make family get-togethers a success, it’s hard to extend a little kindness to ourselves. But it’s crucial. According to an August 2023 study in the Journal of Consumer Research, researchers found that when stressed participants took the time to gift themselves something – either a small gift or indulgence with the intention of boosting their mood – they reported feeling happier, more relaxed and less strapped for time.

But if you’re already feeling the pinch of spending money on gifts for everyone, you may not be inclined to go even further and get something for yourself. Critically, the study’s researchers identified that self-gifting doesn’t necessarily mean having to reach for your wallet.

Engaging in experiences, like giving yourself the time to go out in Nature, read, or enjoy a hobby you’ve been neglecting, could all contribute to better mental health.

So, as you’re checking off items on your to-do list this week, don’t forget to take a well-deserved moment for yourself too.

Do you feel stressed during holiday season? Play today’s Crossword and tell us at