Health & Wellness

Press Releases

Managing stress this holiday season

Caring Contact hotline listeners are available to help with problems big and small this holiday season

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year…It’s the hap-happiest season of all.” 

Words to a classic holiday song. Yes, the holidays are here – a joyful time of year reconnecting with family and friends, creating memories and enjoying music, food and special traditions. But the holidays can also be a time of great stress and anxiety – too little time, too much to do. The holidays can be difficult if you are alone, suffering a loss or just plain weary. Some people wish the holidays would just go away.

Sign Up for E-News

The American Psychological Association reports that the leading holiday stressors are time (67 percent often or sometimes), money (62 percent often or sometimes) and commercialism or hype ( 53 percent often or sometimes). A study conducted by Healthline and reported by the Harvard Medical School found that among the holiday stressors listed by respondents were the financial demands of the season, negotiating the interpersonal dynamics of family and maintaining personal health habits, such as an exercise regimen.

"The holiday season can pose very real dangers through stress and related health problems – even for those who 'love the holidays,'” said Janet Sarkos, executive director of Caring Contact, an award-winning, volunteer-staffed caring and crisis hotline and listening community. "It's important that people know there are others out there to whom they can call for help and support.

"At Caring Contact, we are here to listen when people may not be sure where to turn. Our volunteers provide a listening community through our caring and crisis phone lines."

When stress is high, it is difficult to stop and regroup, noted Sarkos. The Mayo Clinic offers these tips that can help minimize the stress that accompanies the holidays:

  • Acknowledge your feelings. If someone close to you has recently died or you can't be with loved ones, realize that it's normal to feel sadness and grief. It's okay to take time to cry or express your feelings. You can't force yourself to be happy just because it's the holiday season.
  • Reach out. If you feel lonely or isolated, seek out community, religious or other social events.
  • Be realistic. The holidays don't have to be perfect or just like last year. As families change and grow, traditions and rituals often change, as well. Choose a few to hold onto and be open to creating new ones.
  • Set aside differences. Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don't live up to all of your expectations. Chances are they're feeling the effects of holiday stress and depression, too.
  • Stick to a budget. Before you go gift- and food-shopping, decide how much money you can afford to spend. Then stick to your budget. Don't try to buy happiness with an avalanche of gifts..
  • Plan ahead. Set aside specific days for shopping, baking, visiting friends and other activities. Plan your menus and then make your shopping list. That'll help prevent last-minute scrambling to buy forgotten ingredients. And make sure to line up help for party prep and cleanup.
  • Learn to say no. Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed.
  • Don't abandon healthy habits. Don't let the holidays become a free-for-all. Overindulgence only adds to your stress and guilt.
  • Take a breather. Make some time for yourself.
  • Seek professional help if you need it. Despite your best efforts, you may find yourself feeling persistently sad or anxious, plagued by physical complaints, unable to sleep, irritable and hopeless, and unable to face routine chores. If these feelings last for a while, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional.

Caring Contact has trained volunteer listeners available to help people get through holiday stress or depression. Listeners are trained to provide an empathetic and nonjudgmental ear and all calls are anonymous and confidential.

Callers can reach a caring listener by dialing 908-232-2880.

Caring Contact serves Central and Northern New Jersey and is a primary responder to calls to the national suicide prevention line (1-800-273-TALK or 1-800-SUICIDE) that originate in New Jersey. Callers also reach Caring Contact by dialing 908-232-2880. Those preferring to seek supporting through texting may text “heart” to 741-741. Caring Contact also provides best-in-class training to the Central and Northern New Jersey Community.

Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer at Caring Contact should contact the agency at 908.301.1899.

About Caring Contact

Caring Contact is an award-winning, volunteer-staffed caring and crisis hotline providing active listening support and best-in-class education to the Central and Northern New Jersey community. We attentively and compassionately serve those in emotional distress and educate our communities about the power of personal connection. We are affiliated with CONTACT USA, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and the American Association of Suicidology. If you are in crisis and need someone to listen, call us at 908-232-2880. To learn more, visit www.caringcontact.org.

 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

North Plainfield/Green Brook/Watchung

Thousands Expected for Sourland Music Festival

June 20, 2018

HILLSBOROUGH, NJ – The Sourland Music Festival will be held Saturday, June 23 from 3-10 p.m. at the Hillsborough Golf & Country Club at 146 Wertsville Road, rain or shine, to benefit the Sourland Conservancy.

Discounted advance-sale tickets are available online only, Children under 12 are admitted free.

“We’ve got a really powerful lineup of the region’s most ...

Third-annual Juneteenth Parade and Heritage Festival in New Brunswick this Weekend

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - The Vulcan Pioneers of New Brunswick, comprising the city's Black Fire Fighters Association, will host the Juneteenth Parade on Saturday, June 16 to commemorate the Emancipation Proclamation.

Juneteenth celebrations are held across the country to mark the announcement of the abolition of slavery in Texas in June 1865. That state was one of the last locations to learn of ...

Manutti Marina in Belmar: Top Choice for Boating, Fishing and All-Around Family Fun

BELMAR, NJ — It’s no secret that Belmar Manutti Marina ranks among the best boating destinations along the Atlantic coast.

Tucked along the eastern shoreline of the idyllic Shark River — just a five-minute trip by boat to the ocean — the state-of-the-art marina is a top choice among boaters looking to stay for the season, enjoy a vacation or spend the weekend.

In ...

Manutti Marina in Belmar: Top Choice for Boating, Fishing and All-Around Family Fun

June 12, 2018

BELMAR, NJ — It’s no secret that Belmar Manutti Marina ranks among the best boating destinations along the Atlantic coast.

Tucked along the eastern shoreline of the idyllic Shark River — just a five-minute trip by boat to the ocean — the state-of-the-art marina is a top choice among boaters looking to stay for the season, enjoy a vacation or spend the weekend.

In ...

Summer Camp Programs for Children and Teens Announced By Environmental Education Center

June 18, 2018

BERNARDS TWP., NJ – Each summer, the Environmental Education Center (EEC) in Basking Ridge holds programs that let children and teens explore nature for summer activities that both entertaining and an opportunity to learn about the environment.

The programs are organized and led by the EEC's staff of naturalists.

The EEC is a Somerset County facility located at 190 Lord ...

Obituaries

South Plainfield, NJ – Margaret (Pascazio) Butfiloski, 99, passed away peacefully on June 2, ...
Read more

Upcoming Events

Mon, June 25, 9:00 AM

Terrill Road Baptist Chruch, Scotch Plains

Terrill Road Baptist Church

WHRHS Athletics: Watchung Hills Names New Athletic Director

June 19, 2018

WARREN, NJ - The Watchung Hills Board of Education announced a new Director of Athletics at its meeting on Tuesday night to replace Chris Van Vliet who has resigned. WHRHS world language teacher, Dan Root was unanimously approved as the WHRHS Director of Athletics effective July 1.

“I’m excited to work with newly appointed athletic director Mr. Root,” said WHRHS head football ...

A Path Forward for Watchung Schools Set for June 25

 

WATCHUNG, NJ - A Path Forward for Watchung Schools, a listening forum for Watchung parents, residents, and teachers to communicate to make Watchung Schools great, has been set for Monday, June 25. 

 

Watchung has three leadership positions open: Superintendent, Principal of Bayberry School, and Chief Administrator. The listening forum will be hosted and moderated by ...

WHRHS Athletics: 30 Watchung Hills Student Athletes Commit to Play College Sports

WARREN, NJ - Some 30 student athletes from the Watchung Hills Regional High School (WHRHS) Class of 2018 gathered  in the WHRHS Media Center for one last Warrior team photo before reporting to their intended respective colleges or universities in the fall.

Columbia, Yale and Princeton, Stevens, Rensselaer and M.I.T. are among some 27 other Division I, II, or III colleges ...

North Plainfield Board of Education Recognizes Student Athletes

NORTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - The North Plainfield Board of Education had the opportunity to celebrate the victories of the district's distinguished student athletes at the last Board of Education meeting.  Brandon Smith, Daniel Duncan, Trevor Sullivan, and Edgardo Villafane represented the Boys' Indoor Track Team.  The team was victorious as the New Jersey North II, Group II ...

Rain or Shine the Show Goes on at Sourland Music Festival

June 25, 2018

 

HILLSBOROUGH, NJ - The music always plays on at the Sourland Music Festival - rain or shine.

There is a chance of rain in Saturday's forecast, but the show will go on.

Organizers suggest Consider bringing a pop-up, umbrellas and towels with your beach chair and refillable water bottle. Rain did not dampen the spirits of 2017 Sourland Music Fest guests - it provided ...

Thousands Expected for Sourland Music Festival

HILLSBOROUGH, NJ – The Sourland Music Festival will be held Saturday, June 23 from 3-10 p.m. at the Hillsborough Golf & Country Club at 146 Wertsville Road, rain or shine, to benefit the Sourland Conservancy.

Discounted advance-sale tickets are available online only, Children under 12 are admitted free.

“We’ve got a really powerful lineup of the region’s most ...