When Sadness Clashes with Holidays

depression, sadness
When Sadness Clashes with Holidays

It’s over “the season to be jolly? Not necessarily. For many people who dread the stress of gift giving, parties, attending dysfunctional family gatherings would be happy it’s all over and begin to enjoy the holiday season after the New Year’s celebrations has ended. Wrong, the remainder of your holidays can be anything but pleasurable.

In fact, this time of year may trigger a bout of the blues or perhaps ignite a depression that has been bubbling under the surface for months.

Holiday blues is a pretty common problem (it’s a natural let down) despite the fact that as a society, we see the holidays as a joyous time

Many people feel depressed, which can be due to the increased stress that comes with the need to shop, over spending, having high expectations of family & friends – then being let down, your fear of disappointing others, decreased time to exercise, excessive eating and drinking, and difficulty sleeping can be reactions you may experience during the holiday period.

If you recognise that holidays can bring you down because they make you feel that you don’t measure up, try using the holiday season as a time to do something different, something you enjoy that doesn’t fit into any prefab definition of how your life should be. Perhaps this year you could use the holiday season as a chance to practice the art of accepting ourselves as we are in all our uniqueness, with our successes and our failures or learn to recognise your holiday triggers, such as financial pressures or personal demands, so you can combat them before they lead to a meltdown. With a little planning and some positive thinking, you can find peace and joy during the holidays.

Here are 5 extra tips to prevent holiday stress and depression

  1. Acknowledge your feelings – it’s OK to feel sad. You can’t force yourself to be happy just because it’s the holiday season
  2. Reach out if you feel lonely or isolated. Family and friends will listen
  3. Plan ahead your different activities such as visiting friends or having a dinner party, so you’re not feeling ‘rushed’ all the time
  4. Learn to say no. Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. Be true to yourself and what you’re feeling at that time – family, friends and colleagues will understand
  5. Take a breather. Have a 15-minute ‘me’ moment to be alone from distractions to refresh your mind and to reduce stress levels

Our blog is for general educational purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for individual professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you need help for an emotional or behavioural problem, please seek the assistance of a psychologist or other qualified mental health professional.

About the editor, Amelia Cambrell

My name is Amelia and I'm a Senior Psychologist at Counselling in Melbourne. I have over 18-years of experience in the mental health space. I am very driven to get the best outcomes for my clients which can be long lasting by using a range of modalities such as CBT. There is nothing more satisfying than helping adolescents, adults and couples who are feeling confused, frustrated, stuck or overwhelmed, to find more clarity, confidence and happiness in their lives.

Find out more about Amelia Cambrell

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