The holiday season is advertised as a joyful time across many forms of media, but it can be a stressful ordeal, and many Shepherd students have said that they have experienced what is known as ‘holiday guilt.’
A quick Google search for holiday guilt will unveil dozens of articles claiming to hold the tips to surviving the holidays, how to avoid awkward family encounters, and several guides to which gift cards people should feel the least guilty about buying as presents and an overwhelming amount of recipes and guides to help people avoid feeling guilty after Thanksgiving meals.
Shepherd students find themselves experiencing holiday guilt for a multitude of reasons.
Some experience guilt over gift giving.
“It’s always been difficult picking out presents that aren’t so expensive,” senior English major Jessica Ott said. “I may have a part time job now, but I don’t get a chance to work a lot at it, so coming up with gift ideas as well as finding gifts that are great but inexpensive is difficult.”
The majority of students mentioned food when speaking about holiday guilt.
“Eating so much food and not wanting to work it off or not getting the amount of work done that your professors expect make up my holiday guilt,” said junior elementary education major Tori Wilson.
“Eating too much? My family knows I eat,” said junior sociology major Aaron Lloyd.
“My holiday guilt would be eating way too much holiday foods and candies,” said sophomore political science major Dustin Currence.
Overeating and weight gain seem to be the most common sources of holiday guilt, not only at Shepherd University, but nationwide.
The guilt is not without cause, as U.S. News Health correspondent Amir Khan cites a statement from the Calorie Control Council placing the average American calorie count during Thanksgiving at 4,500.
Many people respond to this guilt around New Years, by buying gym memberships. Bob Moon with Marketplace Business reported that the month of January’s 100,000 memberships alone accounted for 15 percent of 24-hour fitness center Snap Fitness’s yearly member-ships. “This is definitely our prime time — this is our Super Bowl, so to speak,” said Patrick Strait, a spokesman for Snap Fitness to Moon. Strait went on to say that many people who get gym memberships during this time stop going to the fitness centers within the first few weeks.
Anyone who feels that the stress of holiday guilt is becoming dangerous to their health should contact Shepherd University counseling services at 304-876-5161.