Christmas Stress, Conflict and Digital Addiction

Christmas pic


Dr. Sylvia Hart Frejd

As we enter this Holiday season let’s be reminded that Christmas is about making memories, continuing traditions and opportunities to make a few more. For many though this season will bring stress, conflict and digital addiction. According to The Meeker Report, we know that the average Smartphone user checks their device 150 times a day, so it’s no surprise that 80% of Americans say they struggle to unplug and completely switch off during weekends, vacations and holidays. In this season intended for togetherness, many will invest time in digital gadgets that steal away important family time and face-to-face interactions.

Holidays can bring up feelings of loss and a sense of being alone and disconnected. During this season we are also prone to experience higher levels of conflict that come mostly from our unrealistic expectations. These stressful feelings can cause us to spend more time on our digital gadgets trying to alleviate our stress, loneliness and escape the pain

Instead of trying to escape the pain it can be helpful to try and acknowledge your feelings and process them in a healthy way. Also recognize the need to set limits on holiday spending as financial stress can also cause conflict during the holidays. Keeping gift giving simple, and focusing on the act of giving, not the cost of the gift will be helpful. Keeping a realistic schedule during the holidays and making sure to save some time and energy for yourself will help replenish you and provide resiliency for coping with the stressful situations you are bound to encounter.            

Tips to Have a Merry Christmas:

·      Work on balancing your time between what you do for others and what you do for yourself.

·      If you find spending time with family is stressful for you, set limits on the amount of time you spend with them.

·      Try to volunteer. Food banks and other organizations often need help at this time of year.

·      Give yourself permission to feel any sense of loss or negative emotions that can surface during this season.

·      Practice self-care. Do relaxation exercises, get a massage, sit by a cozy fire, or take a warm bubble bath.

·      Practice being present and in the moment with family and friends. Have as much face-to-face interaction as possible.

Not sure what to get those you love for Christmas this year? Why not give the gift of your presence. Make yourself a BE PRESENT box. This is a picture of the one I made for myself below.

Be Present Box 2 

Your technology works best when we put it in its place, and only you can manage your digital gadgets. Try using the Be Present box this season and enjoy as much face-to-face interaction with the people around you. Don’t be so busy capturing the moment that you miss the experience.


The true meaning of Christmas can get lost in family struggles, commercialism, stress and anxiety, Black Friday, the white elephant gift exchanges, parties, dinners, and even in the church Christmas programs and school concerts. The best gift is found lying in a manger made from a tree, and wrapped in swaddling clothes. Let’s hear the words from Isaiah 9:6 anew today, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given, the Wonderful Counselor the Prince of Peace”.