Many American families are afraid of the holidays


The new variant of Covid-19 puts many American families under stress as Christmas approaches.

Katherine Sargent, 37 years old, single mother, has worked very hard to have a complete and complete Christmas celebration for her two daughters aged 9 and 10. She had hoped this year’s holidays would be more joyful than last year, when schools began to open and spread vaccines.

But things don’t turn out that way. Even when life returns to normal, people are still afraid to gather and celebrate. “Many of my friends say they’re under stress because of the Omicron variant,” Sargent said, adding that they will have to rethink their plans to party, go to the movies or have fun.

In addition to the pressure of the pandemic, inflation pushed up the price of gifts, leaving many toy stores empty.

Katherine Sargent, with her daughters Matilda (left) and Ena, at home in Portland, Maine. Photo: Tristan Spinski/The New York Times

“The epidemic increases the anxiety and anxiety before every vacation,” said Tracey Kim Snow, clinical psychologist in Chicago. Many families have banned relatives from visiting if they have not been vaccinated, while others only meet after receiving booster vaccines.

The Sargent family is no exception. She started working remotely a few months ago to limit contact, which allows her and her two daughters to visit their parents for Christmas.

Divorced six years ago, Sargent admits being a single mother puts her stress on planning a second Christmas during the pandemic. A survey conducted by the American Psychiatric Association found that women experience more economic stress during the 2021 holiday season than they did last year.

The stress is evident in national mental health warnings and frequency of visits to psychologists. Psychologist Snow says her psychotherapy appointments increase right after Thanksgiving.

“My patients are experiencing anxiety and holiday pressure,” said Dr. Itai Danovitch, chair of psychiatry and behavioral neuroscience at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles , speak.

To reduce stress, therapists advise people to exercise, do housework, participate in volunteer activities, and avoid watching negative news. People are advised to try three tips: go to bed 15 minutes earlier; take a break between work by walking/light exercise/watching funny videos; Or practice breathing to control your composure. If your anxiety persists out of control, you should seek help.

Mary Janevic, 52, a research scientist in health behavior and education at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, says Christmas will be more special than usual because of the Omicron variant. “Instead of hanging out with friends, I will join my husband Robert Wierenga, 52, and the children to make cookies, open presents on Christmas morning and stay at home all day,” she said.

If they want to reunite with relatives or visit their 92-year-old aunt, Janevic’s family will do quick tests to ensure safety.

As for the Sargent family, the special mark for this year’s Christmas of Matilda and Ena is the second vaccination, instead of a grand party or valuable gifts from their mother. “Before leaving the two children were very excited. I didn’t know being vaccinated would mean so much to them,” she said.

Minh Phuong (According to NyTimes)

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