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Elizabeth Scott, M.S.

January: The Most Stressful Month of the Year?

By January 13, 2009

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We all know that the holiday season can be a time of stress. But what surprises many people is that once the holiday shopping, traveling and endless social obligations are over, the real stress begins--in January! In fact, many experts believe that January is actually the most stressful month of the year for several reasons that, for some reason, seem to catch most of us off guard every year. Some of these stressors can be prevented and minimized, others can be dealt with via stress management techniques, but they all must be addressed.

Learn more about the Causes of January Stress, and find out how to cope.

Discuss: Do you agree? Is January the most stressful month of the year--or among them? And what stresses you this time of year? For me, it's my penchant for trying to do too many things at once, now that the holiday season is over and I have more 'free time'. What about you? Leave your answers in the comments section, or start a discussion in the Stress Management Forum.

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January 14, 2009 at 7:47 am
(1) Karen says:

January is stressful to me because it’s still winter, tends to be cold and I need warmth! But really, it’s stressful because it’s now time to think about taxes, preparing for them, setting up the new year’s accounting system, and all that. I’m spending a lot of time this January setting up Quicken and organizing my financial papers in the hopes that NEXT January will be a lot less stressful.

January 14, 2009 at 8:07 am
(2) Tricia Ballad at Living at the Speed of Life says:

Absolutely – mid to late January is also when many of our best intentions start to fall to the wayside, so we pile guilt on top of dreary weather. I also feel a general sense of letdown after the holidays. The drama (most of it good, hopefully!) comes to a climax, then – poof! – it’s over.

January 14, 2009 at 12:33 pm
(3) Tasha says:

If I’m stressed in January, I’m unaware of it :) We lose almost all sense of routine in December and I like to get back to our usual way of doing things, come January. The weather is beautiful here in SoCal in January. Now August…that stresses the heck of out me, when the weather is so hot and we end up cooped up inside much more. Then you can color me cranky!

January 14, 2009 at 3:25 pm
(4) Sandra Foyt says:

January stress has taken me by surprise.

Suddenly, I’m having to jumpstart event planning with our volunteer organizations while pushing forth home school work. And, to top it off, my daughter is taking the SAT this month. Turns out, the entire family schedule has been affected by this one child’s commitment.

I don’t even have time to stress about my own commitments!

January 14, 2009 at 3:37 pm
(5) stress says:

Same here! Karen, you and I are in the same boat on taxes–we’ve been doing tax prep for the past two weeks! We’re almost done (and hopefully it will make our April much more fun), but it sure adds to the busy-ness! And it’s been a bit of a shock to our system to get back in the swing of things after the holidays. We have a ton of classes starting up this month, too, so the kid realm is taking over : ) At least we’re all in the same boat and we have techniques to manage, right? Now, August–I hadn’t thought about that as a stressful month, but now that you bring it up, Tasha, I guess we do get a bit stressed when we’re boiling. And that’s generally not a great month for sibling harmony…
Thanks for the comments, ladies. It’s fun to hear all of your experiences and insights.

January 15, 2009 at 10:49 am
(6) Elizabeth says:

I do not agree. I think we create more than is actaully present. Okay we all have things we need to get done. It is how we handle it. Why ferak out over something that has to be. handle it with humor, that is my trick. If I just laugh, which my husband keeps me going. Laughter is the key to a healthy stress filled life.

January 15, 2009 at 2:16 pm
(7) stress says:

Hi Elizabeth (nice name :)
You remind us of an important truth of stress management: not all “stressors” need to cause us stress! The way we handle events in our lives–starting with how we perceive them, and continuing on with what we do–can affect whether or not something causes stress. (I love humor, too, and another of my favorite coping mechanisms is to consciously make a decision to view events as a ‘challenge’ rather than as a ‘threat’.) While the point of the post is that there are more situations in January that could (and generally do) cause stress, healthy (and clever) coping can mitigate that, and sometimes stop it before it starts! Thanks for the angle.

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