If you’re feeling a bit Grinch-like this holiday season, you’re not alone. More lesbian adults (80%) than straight women (64%) say they feel stressed around the holidays, according to a new survey (PDF link) by Harris Interactive and Witeck-Combs. Half (51%) of the lesbians surveyed said they tend to feel depressed around the holidays, versus 36% of their straight peers.
Dr. Linda Spooner, Chair of The Mautner Project’s Board of Directors, offers some reasons for this: “Estrangement from family, marginalization within and isolation from society, separation from children (sometimes due to custody battles), and inadequate access to culturally sensitive health care practitioners are all factors that can adversely affect mood during a season so identified with ‘family’ activities and ‘belonging.’” Stress and depression, she says, can also affect not only quality of life and workplace productivity [as well as interactions with our children], but can also impact hypertension and other diseases. Spooner and The Mautner Project are “once again calling on mental health and medical researchers to do more to include lesbians in their studies so that our community as well as lesbians individually can understand how to do more to take care of themselves and prevent disease.”
A worthy endeavor. On a personal level, though: Do you indeed find the holidays more stressful than other times of year? If so, does this stem from the tension of a “family” holiday in a world not always fair to our families, or is it the practicalities like gift buying and arranging childcare for when school vacations and employer vacations don’t overlap? Either way, what are some of your strategies for coping?