This holiday season is traditionally regarded as a period of joy, gratitude, and togetherness.
Nevertheless, for numerous individuals, it can also elicit significant stress and potentially result in depressive feelings.
In this blog post, our objective is to examine the factors that commonly contribute to holiday-related stress, address the issue of depression during this time of the year, and provide practical strategies for effectively managing holiday stress while safeguarding one’s mental well-being.
Why Do The Holidays Cause Stress?
- Financial Pressure: One of the leading causes of holiday stress is the financial burden associated with gift-giving, holiday decorations, travel expenses, and extravagant feasts. This financial pressure can lead to anxiety and stress as people try to meet their own and others’ expectations for gift-giving.
- Time Constraints: During the holiday season, a multitude of social obligations emerge, ranging from attending parties to hosting family gatherings. Balancing these commitments with an already demanding schedule can lead to a feeling of overwhelming fatigue.
- Unrealistic Expectations: Society frequently imposes unfeasible expectations regarding the essence of holidays. The obligation to orchestrate impeccable and visually flawless celebrations can be particularly burdensome for parents, resulting in feelings of inadequacy and disillusionment. These unattainable ideals generate a discrepancy between reality and the intended outcome.
Depression During The Holidays.
- The Holiday Blues: The holiday season can present unique challenges for individuals struggling with depression. Referred to as the “holiday blues,” these emotions include feelings of sadness, loneliness, and despair, which can be exacerbated by societal expectations of happiness and togetherness during this time.
- Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): Seasonal Affective Disorder, known as SAD, is a form of depression that typically emerges during the fall and winter months. It can be triggered or aggravated by the reduced sunlight and shorter days that define this time of year. SAD impacts a significant number of individuals, and its symptoms can be particularly noticeable during the holiday season.
How To Cope With Holiday Stress And Depression?
- Financial Planning: To mitigate financial stress during the holiday season, it is recommended to proactively establish a budget for expenses. Set realistic spending limits for gifts and other holiday-related costs while bearing in mind that meaningful presents need not be extravagant or expensive.
- Time Management: Prioritize your commitments and learn to say no when necessary. Plan ahead and schedule downtime for self-care. Carving out moments of relaxation can help you recharge and reduce stress.
- Set Realistic Expectations: Acknowledge that perfection is unattainable, and the holidays don’t have to be flawless to be enjoyable. Embrace imperfections and focus on the moments of connection and joy that truly matter.
- Seek Support: If you’re struggling with depression during the holidays, don’t hesitate to seek support from friends, family, or a mental health professional. You’re not alone, and reaching out for help is a sign of strength.
- Light Therapy: For those dealing with Seasonal Affective Disorder, light therapy can be effective. Light boxes emit bright light that mimics natural sunlight and can help alleviate symptoms. Consult with a healthcare provider for guidance on using light therapy.
- Practice Self-Care: Make self-care a priority during the holiday season. Engage in activities that relax and rejuvenate you, such as meditation, exercise, or spending quality time with loved ones.
- Manage Expectations: Communicate openly with your family and friends about your needs and boundaries during the holidays. Set realistic expectations for what you can and cannot do.
The holidays should be a time of joy and celebration, not a season of stress and depression.
By understanding the root causes of holiday stress, addressing depression, and implementing effective coping strategies, you can navigate this time of year with greater ease and enjoy the moments that truly matter.
If you’ve been wondering about seeking help for managing stress and you connected with any part of this post, and if you’re presently searching for a therapist to help you with your unresolved stress and anxiety, we would be honored to offer our support to you.
At Evergreen Counseling, we understand the importance of finding a therapist who resonates with you.
We invite you to take the next step toward your well-being by booking a complimentary 20-minute consultation call with us.