The holidays are supposed to be about quality family time, gratitude, presents, and hearty food. Or at least that’s what most movies and the media would make you think.
In reality, a lot of people struggle with a lot of difficult and complex emotions during this time of year. While this is the season of bright lights, good cheer, and sales, it is also the season of high expectations, long nights, and stress.
Depression and anxiety during the holidays
There are various culprits when it comes to depression and anxiety during the holiday season. If you’ve struggled with either of these issues in the past, this time period brings unique challenges that you don’t have to deal with the rest of the year such as:
- Unrealistic expectations can be one of the main sources of painful feelings during this season. Your social media feeds, TV shows, and friends’ stories will likely be peppered with good-feel family stories and pictures. If you’re working, missing a family member, or far away from those close to you, constant exposure to these sentiments can make you feel isolated and alone.
- Financial stress is a real struggle for many people around the holiday times–all those gifts, decorations, and vacations can add up and can be a real strain on your wallet.
- If you struggle with social anxiety, holiday parties and family gatherings can be a source of stress and leave you feeling emotionally drained.
- Holidays can be a painful reminder of a loss, breakup, or divorce. Not everyone has the ideal family situation, and the holidays can leave you feeling alone or sad about the people you’re missing.
What you can do to fight holiday blues
It can be helpful to take a step back, to acknowledge and respect your feelings. Try to spend some quality with the people you love, or maybe with your own self. Engage in self-care and simple, enjoyable activities like biking, painting, reading a great book, or going out with friends for drinks.
The holiday season comes with specific blessings and challenges. It can be helpful to accept and validate your inner feelings. Being honest with others, and reaching out for help or support, can also be a game-changer. Often we think we need to go through our challenges alone, that people won’t understand or they will judge us. This is usually not true, opening up about our inner feelings often allows others to do the same.
If you feel that professional support and guidance can be beneficial, feel free to reach out and see how I can help. You can give me a call at (818)210-5070. Or you can fill out the contact form and click Send to request a free 15-minute phone consultation. I look forward to hearing from you.