‘Tis the season to be jolly, as they say, but sometimes that is easier said than done. The holidays are usually a time filled with merriment and joy which is why many love and anticipate the season so much; however, sometimes people may feel sad or stressed out throughout the holiday season instead. This does not mean they lack the holiday spirit; rather, they may have a case of the holiday blues. This may make us wonder what exactly are holiday blues and why would people have them during such a joyous season? And most importantly, how can we deal with it? By understanding what the holiday blues are, we can learn to cope and make the season one to enjoy and remember.
What are the Holiday Blues?
As we all know, the holidays are usually seen as a time away from our responsibilities where we can enjoy the festivities and have quality time with family and friends. It is a season of giving and looking forward to a new year ahead. However, not everyone feels the same way. Holiday blues, which is also called holiday depression, is the feeling of sadness that often lasts the whole holiday season or from November until December. This is brought up by painful reflection, sadness, loneliness, anxiety, and depression (Cherry, 2022). Even people who are looking forward to the holidays may also experience holiday blues because of how busy and overwhelming the holiday season brings. Additionally, people who already have existing mental illness report that the holiday season tends to make their condition even worse (Arlington, 2014).
Causes and Factors
Holiday blues are felt differently from one person to another, but there are recurring factors that can be identified so that activities that may lower the causes of holiday blues may be done. The holiday season is filled with parties, school/work reunions, or just quality time with friends and family. However, such enjoyable gatherings may cause a person to ruminate. Some factors that may increase the probability of a person having holiday blues include stress, fatigue, unrealistic expectations, over-commercialization (i.e., having the “best gift” to give, or having the notion that you must give gifts to everyone), financial stress (i.e., spending more than your intended budget), and the inability to be with one’s friends and family. Furthermore, the burden of balancing obligations like shopping, hosting parties, family errands, and entertaining guests may also make a person feel overwhelmed (Duffy Counseling, 2017; WebMD, 2022). Indeed, the wearing of different hats may cause some people to feel stressed about the holidays, but this does not mean that holiday blues are impossible to deal with.
How to Cope with the Holiday Blues
Here are several ways which can help manage your Holiday blues. First is to avoid isolating yourself. Sadness often makes us want to be isolated from others which isn’t good and can lead to depression. It would help a lot if you reach out to family and friends to spend quality time with. You can also try volunteering for a cause you believe in or even seek a counselor for guidance. Second is finding time for yourself. Forcing yourself to be around family and friends may overwhelm us and tire us out, so allotting time for yourself can give you a breather. Sometimes saying ‘no’ to party invites would be better for yourself. Relax and do things that you like doing by yourself. Lastly is setting realistic expectations. Sometimes we can’t help but feel like previous holidays were better than the present perhaps because we were younger and had less problems, or we used to just enjoy receiving things like gifts and parties whereas now we feel obliged to give back and help plan various things. Rather than worrying about the present not being better compared to the past, enjoy the moment and focus on experiencing new memories with your family and friends. Additionally, drink alcohol in moderation and try to find time to exercise. Even outside the holiday season studies show that having an excess and lack of both respectively could trigger things such as depression in you (Cherry, 2022).
Spend the Holidays Right
While the holidays are a time filled with happiness, relaxation, and love, it can also be a time of immense sadness, stress, and loneliness. It is important that we look after ourselves during this season by balancing ourselves, others, and our responsibilities. If ever you’re feeling the holiday blues, it’s alright to take some time for yourself or to seek the support of others, and if these negative feelings persist, you can always consult a mental health professional about it. Either way, we all deserve to be happy and healthy, so by taking the necessary measures, we can make the holiday season a peaceful and enjoyable experience for all the years to come.
We at Fidecita wish you the best in your mental health endeavors. Click here to know more about Fidecita HR Advisory’s Mental Health Care services.
Arlington, A. (2014). Mental Health and the Holiday Blues. National Alliance on Mental Illness. Retrieved December 7, 2022, from https://www.nami.org/Press-Media/Press-Releases/2014/Mental-health-and-the-holiday-blues
Cherry, K. (2022). How to cope with the holiday blues. Verywell Mind. https://www.verywellmind.com/holiday-blues-4771716
Duffy Counseling. (2017, December 20). The Holiday Blues Series: Most Common Factors of Holiday Depression (& How to Manage Through Them). https://duffycounseling.com/2017/12/20/most-common-factors-of-holiday-depression-how-to-manage-through-them/
WebMD. (2022, August 28). Holiday Depression and Stress. https://www.webmd.com/depression/holiday-depression-stress