Gender Roles and the Holidays

The American Psychological Association reports that only 25% of women admit to relaxing during the holidays.  Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, 44% of women report higher stress levels: feeling the pressure to plan, shop, decorate, cook, coordinate, and entertain.

Gender-coded roles also demand that we create the “perfect” holiday – media scenes of perfect domesticity, increasing pressure to create a spectacular experience, bloggers telling us how to handle holiday “stress” with ideas like taking a bubble bath or burning an aromatic candle.

Whomever we may be, we often have the expectation of stress during holidays, with factors that may exacerbate the “holiday blues” here are some:

  • associating holidays with unresolved family issues or a painful childhood
  • ignoring feelings of sadness, loneliness, or depression in an effort to be “cheerful”
  • facing the loss of a loved one with whom you’ve shared the holidays
  • having unrealistic expectations of family and friends
  • believing that you “should” feel good.
  • being away from family and friends
  • feeling isolated from others
  • reflecting on losses or disappointments during the past year
  • coping with changes in family obligations, particularly in cases of marriage, divorce, or death
  • drinking more alcohol, which is often more available during the holidays (and which often makes depression worse)

To read more about the varying ways “holiday stress” can be effected by gender, race, income, or other factors:

OR, you might find a laugh or two will help: take a few minutes to watch What Christmas Would Be Like if Men and Women Switch Roles

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