Twinkling lights. Cheerful songs. Festive gatherings. What sounds like the most wonderful time of the year doesn’t feel that way for everyone. There’s no shame in struggling with sadness and anxiety this time of year and no reason to suffer alone.
We know the season can conjure up a lot of painful emotions. We miss people we’ve lost or are always from the ones we love. Whether it’s loneliness, life changes, or no specific reason at all, the holiday blues are a real and difficult thing.
We’re here to offer some insight into why Christmastime can seem so challenging and how you can find joy even if you’re not feeling festive.
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Understanding Holiday Blues
The changing seasons can have a big effect on us. If you find yourself feeling depressed throughout the winter months, you may want to talk to your doctor about Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Of course, you should also seek professional help If you’re experiencing symptoms of anxiety and depression all year round.
The holiday blues are a little different. You might be depressed or anxious in the months, weeks, and days leading to Christmas or the ones that follow. Everyone else is full of holiday cheer, but all you feel is sadness.
Why Do People Often Feel Sad During the Holiday Season?
So, why is it so hard to shake the holiday blues? It helps to understand why it’s making you melancholy. Consider if these factors are bringing you down:
Everyone Around You Seems Happy
Ever feel like everyone else is living in a Hallmark movie? You don’t have the energy to put up the tree, but your friends could rival Martha Stewart for the most beautiful decorations? Don’t let appearances deceive you. All those social media posts of flawless feasts, happy family gatherings, lavish gifts, and manicured homes aren’t reality. The people you know and the influencers you follow want to paint a perfect holiday picture, but it’s rarely what’s happening behind the scenes. They don’t show you the conflict, the credit card bills, the loneliness.
Never measure your success against someone else’s highlight reel. It only fosters feelings of inadequacy and disappointment. Remember, behind those curated photos and posts are real people with struggles and insecurities. Even Martha might get the holiday blues from time to time.
Negative Impact of Food and Alcohol
The holiday season is synonymous with indulgence. You’re faced with a seemingly never-ending array of decadent treats and alcoholic beverages. While these can be enjoyable in moderation, excessive consumption can have a detrimental effect on your mood. Overindulging in sugary, high-fat foods and alcohol can lead to fluctuations in blood sugar levels and disrupt your body’s natural rhythms. This can contribute to feelings of irritability, fatigue, and even depression.
It’s crucial to balance enjoying holiday treats and maintaining a healthy diet. Treat yourself, but also opt for fruits and veggies, stay hydrated, and be mindful of your alcohol intake to help stabilize your mood.
Too Many Expectations
There’s a certain magic about Christmas. We feel it as children. We see it reinforced in our favorite holiday movies, songs, and shows. We see those seemingly perfect holiday people around us. The truth is, the perfect Christmas doesn’t exist. If you hold yourself to unrealistic standards, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.
You deserve to celebrate the holidays on your terms. It’s not easy when society–and even your own family–pressures you to deliver Instagram-worthy dinners and decorations. That’s why you have to set your expectations. Decide what Christmas means to you and what aspects bring you joy. Focus on creating meaningful moments rather than striving for an idealized, unrealistic version of the holidays.
Effective Ways for Overcoming Holiday Depression
The holiday blues are hard to overcome, but we’re here to help you navigate this time of year with more joy and resilience. Let’s explore things you can do to overcome seasonal sadness.
Surround Yourself with the Ones You Love
Spend time with people who make you feel good. You can’t always avoid the aunt who asks too much about your love life or the grandma who criticizes all your efforts. But you can limit your time around toxic people and celebrate with the family and friends who actually inspire Christmas cheer.
So, what do you do if your sadness stems from being alone? Not everyone has people to turn to around the holidays, but you can still seek comfort in your community. When you’re feeling blue, try lifting others up. Volunteer at your local soup kitchen, take part in a toy drive or bring treats to a neighbor who may also be lonely.
Take Care of Yourself
Do you spend the season looking after everyone else? In the chaos of the holidays, we often forget about self-care. It’s important to slow down and make time to recharge and rejuvenate. Try meditation, a hot bath, a favorite hobby, or any activity that soothes your soul. Self-care nurtures a calm mind better able to combat stress and anxiety.
Self-care can also come in the form of saying “no”. You don’t have to accept every holiday invitation that comes your way. Avoid overwhelming yourself. Set boundaries that protect your peace of mind and let you celebrate precisely how you want to.
Say Positive Affirmations
Positive affirmations are powerful tools for shifting your mindset and boosting your emotional well-being. Create a list of affirmations that resonate with you and repeat them daily. These affirmations help counter negative thoughts and remind you of your strengths and worth. For example, you might say, “I am capable of finding joy in small moments,” or “I am surrounded by love and support.” Positive self-talk can significantly impact your outlook on the holiday season. Replace self-criticism with self-compassion and acknowledge that having moments of struggle or imperfection is okay.
Take Time to Read Books and Watch Movies
Escaping into the world of books and movies can provide a welcome respite from the pressures of the holiday season. Choose literature or films that uplift your spirits and transport you to different realms. Whether it’s a heartwarming novel, a feel-good movie, or a collection of inspiring stories, immersing yourself in these forms of entertainment can offer a much-needed mental break. Reading and watching movies can be a form of self-care, temporarily allowing you to escape from the hustle and bustle of the holidays. It’s an opportunity to unwind and recharge your emotional batteries.
Physical activity is proven to have a profound impact on mental health. Incorporating regular exercise into your routine can help alleviate symptoms of holiday depression. Exercise releases endorphins, the body’s natural mood lifters, and can reduce stress and anxiety. Whether going for a brisk walk, practicing yoga, or hitting the gym, find an exercise you enjoy and commit to during the holiday season. Exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous; even gentle activities like stretching or leisurely walking can positively affect your mood. The key is consistency and finding activities that you genuinely enjoy.
Quality sleep is essential for emotional well-being. Aim for a consistent sleep schedule and create a peaceful bedtime routine. Avoid excessive caffeine and screen time before bed, as these can disrupt sleep patterns. Prioritizing restorative sleep can improve your mood, increase your resilience to stress, and help you better cope with holiday blues. Sleep is a critical component of self-care. When well-rested, you’re better equipped to handle the emotional challenges that may arise during the holiday season.
When you’re feeling low, you’re not alone. Consult a psychic or spiritual advisor for personal insights and support. Learn about the deeper causes of your feelings and how to cope. Start a 1-on-1 professional reading now.
How Long Does Holiday Depression Usually Last?
It’s hard to say how long your holiday blues will last. It varies from person to person. For some, it may be a fleeting sadness that lasts only a few days. For others, it may persist throughout the entire holiday season or even beyond. If you find that your holiday blues are interfering with your daily life and staying for an extended period, seeking professional help is essential. A mental health professional can provide support and guidance to manage your symptoms and develop coping strategies.
Holiday depression is not a sign of weakness, and seeking help is a proactive step toward improving your mental well-being. Therapists and counselors can work with you to address the underlying causes of your holiday blues and provide practical strategies for managing them.
The holiday season can be challenging for those experiencing holiday blues, but it’s important to remember that you’re not alone in your feelings. By understanding the triggers of holiday depression and implementing effective strategies like spending time with loved ones, practicing self-care, and adopting positive affirmations, you can navigate this season with greater resilience and find moments of joy and contentment.
Struggling with holiday emotions? A psychic can provide understanding and direction. Explore the reasons behind your feelings and find your way to a serene, joyful holiday. Start a person-to-person psychic reading and renew your holiday spirit.
While holiday blues may visit, they don’t have to overstay their welcome, and with the right mindset and support, you can make the most of this festive time of year. Embrace the holiday season as an opportunity for growth, connection, and self-care; you may find that it becomes a time of renewal and celebration.