Holiday bills bring January blues

It’s known as ‘the most wonderful time of the year’ , but where does that leave people once the holly jolly is done, and the harsh reality of January sets in.

“A lot of people just have such incredible anticipation of Christmas and when their life doesn’t match that particular view of what Christmas should be, they get very depressed,” said counsellor Dr. Bev Muendel-Atherstone.

Now that all the gifts have been opened, one Christmas delivery remains, and for some it could have a snowball effect, turning the holiday bills, into January blues.

“People have had a great time in December, and now the reality of what they’ve spent on starts coming home,” said CEO of 1st Choice Savings and Credit Union, Brian Kinahan. “Albertans have increased their spending this year a considerable amount over last year.”

The stress of Christmas leaves its mark on many, but it’s the shock of a quiet home, and the dreaded feeling behind an over swiped credit card bill that can send some into a downwards spiral.

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“Post holidays is when we tend to see the larger credit card balances being sort of the tipping point,” said Sandy Lyons, Bankruptcy Trustee at Bromwich & Smith.

Clinical depression affects thousands year round but counsellors say there is a definite spike in the need for help this time of year and experts say there are ways to cope with the mounting pressure.

“Keep things in perspective, like don’t try and look at your bills and go oh my goodness, I have to pay all this today,” suggested Dr. Muendel-Atherstone.

“Take things in bites, make a plan.”

Most importantly, ask for what you need.

“The hardest first step is always to taking that step forward and saying ‘I need some help,” added Lyons.

Experts suggest returning to a regular routine as soon as possible after the holiday, and to prioritize your bills.


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