Vacations can cause a lot of stress. Here’s how to cope

Those Christmas movies featuring families gathered around a fire with a blanket of snow outside may seem idyllic, but they have little to do with reality and may even pose a danger to your mental health.

“Christmas movies, plays and television tend to be idealistic. They portray ideal situations that few people actually have and that can turn them into triggers for depression,” said Debra Wentz, president of the New Jersey Institute of Mental Health.

They amplify what people think is missing in their own lives, Wentz said. Visions of “utopia” and what the ideal vacation should be like are reinforced.

From old movies to social media, we’re set up for failure with unrealistic expectations, experts say.

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