Everything’s different this year—so why not holiday stress?

How to help your family deal with 2020’s special seasonal anxiety

All the shiny wrapping paper in the world can’t cover up what’s coming for families this holiday season: canceled traditions, travel restrictions, quarantines, nasal swabs, and plenty of disputes over masked gatherings versus mass gatherings.

Throw in a kid who can’t hug grandma, and you’re looking at something more like the least wonderful time of the year.

The darker, shorter days of November and December often usher in an uptick in stress levels, especially for folks navigating complex family dynamics and tight budgets, says psychologist Michi Fu, a professor at California’s Alliant International University. Unfortunately, the ongoing health and economic crisis will almost certainly exacerbate these problems.

Experts worry that the combination of the usual holiday stress and pandemic-related anxiety is a prescription

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