For many people, the holidays are the best time of the year. Typically seen as a time to celebrate, the holidays are generally filled tons of family get-togethers and parties filled with loved ones from different aspects of your life.
But for some people the holidays can be filled with dread. The pressure to provide gifts, interact socially and/ or lack of family to celebrate with can lead many people to feel depressed.
What Are Some Causes of Holiday Depression?
Poor Economic Status
Although the holidays are meant to be centered around thankfulness and family, one can’t deny the onslaught of materialism that this time of year brings! We are bombarded with ad after ad of the latest item that we “need” to buy for ourselves and/ or loved ones. And the pressure that we feel to provide the best gifts is fueled by our need to prove to those around us that we care and can show it monetarily. But the truth is that many people struggle financially around the holidays and this can be a big source of sadness for them.
Have you ever noticed a shift in your mood during the winter months as opposed to the summer months? If you have then you’re definitely not alone. Many people tend to suffer from seasonal depression during the colder months that typically accompany the holiday season. The lack of sunshine, colder temperatures and more time inside that we experience during the winter months can lead to more depressive states than during Spring and Summer when we experience brighter and warmer weather.
Experiencing Grief During The Holidays
The holidays typically bring with them warm memories of holidays past but when you are grieving the loss of someone special, these memories can be hard to bare. During all of the family time we experience during this time of year the absence of a loved one can be glaring. Many of us, myself included, long to spend this time with those who have passed on which can make it hard for on us.
Lack of A Social Circle
After experiencing 2020 I think many of us can attest to how hard it is to enjoy the holidays when you can’t be with family and friends. But for many people without a ton of friends and family the holidays can bring about feelings of loneliness each and every year. This can be the same for those that live far from family and those that are estranged. Having the holidays as a reminder that you don’t have many people in your corner can be a hard pill to swallow.
Dealing With Holiday Depression
Suffering from holiday depression can be extremely difficult to say the least but there are ways to cope with this difficult time of year.
Seek Out Financial Help During the Holidays
First things first, you should not feel pressure to provide beyond your financial needs during the holidays. This season should be about loving and caring for one another. With that being said if you are struggling financially and have children that you want to treat during the holidays there are programs out there that can help. Seek out toy drives local to your area and see how they can assist you. There is also a program with the United States Postal Service called Operation Santa where you can sign up to have your child’s Christmas letter adopted to help provide them with the things on their Christmas list.
Treat Your Seasonal Depression
Many people are unaware that they have seasonal depression so if you notice a pattern in mood changes once the colder months come along then you should speak to a doctor. Talking to a therapist and/ or prescription antidepressants are options to consider as well. But if you’re looking for a more homeopathic route light therapy, aroma therapy, exercise, vitamin D and more socializing are great alternatives as well.
Dealing With Grief And Loneliness
Coping with grief and loneliness during the holidays can seem almost impossible because of the deep hurt associated with the two. One thing that I feel is very important is to lean into those that we do have in our lives not matter how many or how little. There is nothing in the world like spending time with people you enjoy whether that be coworkers, family, classmates etc. it can be tempting to want to isolate yourself when you feel depressed (I’m the queen of that, trust me) but sometimes laughter and time spent with good people can be the best medicine.