Heart Attacks and Christmas Stress – What’s the Link?

Heart Attacks and Christmas Stress – What’s the Link?

As soon as the holidays and Christmas come near, you start hearing cliche lines about how this is the best time of the year. If we talk about seasonal food and wonderful decorations such as the fairy light and the trees, it sure is pleasant to watch.

But when it comes to planning and managing all things at once, it is not so enjoyable. For all grown-ups, it is a well established fact that the ‘ideal Christmas’ only exists in books and movies. 

In reality, the holidays are now a bigger cause of worry rather than joy for us. As much as we love the food and drinks, the stress of putting on pounds we works so hard to get rid of is bigger. 

On the other hand, some of us still want to believe in the perfect Christmas. In order to achieve that, we end up putting in too much effort and not get satisfactory results in return.

Consequently, the end results are always fights, disappointment, stress, and adverse effects on the health. 

Where it is commonly cited as the ‘season to be jolly’, the studies on it suggest the opposite.

According to a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, the cases of heart attacks and heart condition related deaths increase in the holiday season. 

You can read the full study here. 

What Is the Biggest Cause Of Christmas Stress? 

To be fair, there are a number of things that cause stress during the holidays. You might feel stressed about controlling your weight for your spring vacation or getting to your mom’s dinner on time.

However, according to a poll conducted by American Psychological Association, the biggest cause of Christmas stress is money. Not quite that surprising, is it? 

The extra calories can be burned off and an excuse can be made for late arrival on dinners. But getting the money you spend on gifts for your family and friends back is the hardest. 

Holiday retail sales back in 2017 had an increase of 3-4%. According to National Retail Federation, the expenditure went up $655.8 billion in comparison with 2016.

This means the spending on Christmas decorations, presents, travel, clothes and other things increases more and more every year. You are likely to be stressed about the amount of money you have to spend. 

What do you do in such a situation? Many people at this time even find it hard to pay for their common bills due to the over-spending on holiday related items. 

While there is no harm in buying gifts for your loved ones, it is important to set priorities. Before looking at pricey decorations, drinks, and gifts, set money aside for your important needs first. 

To control your temptation, take only the money you can afford to spend and avoid going to malls too often.

Remember that the true spirit of Christmas comes from within and you do not need to have extravagant dinners to show it. 

What Else Can You Do?

As mentioned before, the main cause of Christmas stress is money. Sometimes, the stress may even make you turn towards smoking, drinking too much alcohol or overeating. 

Not only can this ruin your health but may potentially cause arguments and conflicts. If you feel like stress is getting to your head, do not be afraid to seek professional help.

In addition, do not forget to take some time out for yourself. Spending time with family and friends can be fun but may also drain you. Say no to dinner invites beforehand if you think it is better for your mental health. 

The most important thing is to set realistic goals and expectations. Throw a dinner that you can afford and do not invite the people you do not want to.

It may also help to teach children about realistic expectations at this time. What is portrayed in movies, is not necessarily real life!

Lastly, do not forget to have fun! Go to late night walks, try volunteering, choose a fun activity as an alternative to gym. It can surely be the season of joy without all the extra spending and stress. 


Hilary Jensen

Hilary is a Food Science and Nutrition graduate with specialization in diet planning and weight loss. She enjoys reading and writing on Food, Nutrition, Diet, Weight Loss, and General Health.

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