This is a guest post from my very talented sister Rachel, who is about to be licensed as a psychologist. Thanks for the great article & the important info, sis!

So, let’s face it: it’s the end of what’s been a long year with many ups and downs, struggles, rewards, and so many emotions to go along with it. By now most of us are feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, and in desperate need of some time off. Just to make our stress more overpowering, the holidays are coming up. As exciting as this may sound, for many people it means that the holiday blues are well on their way.

The holiday blues cause quite a struggle; this is the time of year to be happy and joyful… everyone else seems to feel that way, so what’s wrong with me? As difficult as it may be to believe, many people suffer from depression, especially during the holiday season when everyone seems cheerful. It’s not an issue people will usually be open to expressing.


Why do we get depressed during the holiday season?

1. Exhaustion
There can be many factors causing this depression to resurface. As I mentioned earlier, we can feel exhausted when the year is coming to an end because of all the emotions we’ve experienced throughout it, as well as work stress and fatigue. Add the stress of preparing for the holidays and the feeling of exhaustion will intensify. Over-drinking and overeating, which are very common during the holidays, may be influencing our mental state as well.

2. Idealization
As a society, we tend to idealize the holidays, expecting things to go perfectly, when in fact, things usually don’t. I always say it’s best not to have expectations; when the expectations are there, it’s very unlikely that the reality will meet the standards of our fantasy, leading to disappointment. On the other hand, not having expectations can lead to many surprises, hopefully, some wonderful ones.

3. Finances
One of the big factors that may be inducing stress and depression is the economic one. Unfortunately, people are expected to spend incredible amounts to create the perfect holiday for their loved ones, but this isn’t always financially accessible to us. We may feel disillusioned, frustrated, or even upset with ourselves because again, we have not reached our expectations due to economical limitations. If we let go of these negative feelings and restraints, we can forget the commercial part of the holidays and remember that the essence of it is to share these moments with our loved ones.

4. Family
It might not always be easy to get along with our loved ones. Relating to family members could cause anxiety during the holidays. It’s best to declare an amnesty when it comes to family members for whom you’ve had past resentments. Let it all be for the well-being of your mind and health.

This holiday try something different

The best thing to do when feeling depressed during this time of the year is to give yourself some time to relax, lower your expectations and forgive yourself for not being able to plan the holiday you wanted. If the feeling gets overwhelming, please remember to ask for help, sometimes depression can be too overwhelming for one person to handle on their own.


Thanks to freepik for the featured image