When fairy lights are strewn in every street and Christmas songs convey messages of joy and peace, the pressure is inevitably on for us to feel happy during this season.
Yet the truth is, holiday depression syndrome is a common phenomenon, even lying behind the perfect smiles plastered on those social media images.
There is nothing to be ashamed of if you are feeling sad during this time of the year, and there are ways you can fight these feelings.
The following are causes of Holiday Depression Syndrome and some tips on how you can overcome the bad feelings.
This season can heighten feelings of loneliness, especially if you are going through heartbreak, you are grieving, or you have a small social circle. It can be hard to put yourself out there, but opening up to just one person who will listen is a powerful way of easing your fears of isolation, and proving to yourself that you have someone who is willing to listen.
How to Beat It: Get in touch with a person you trust or find a supportive online community and don’t be afraid to open up. You can also turn your situation into a positive one by finding others who are feeling isolated and keeping them company.
Unrealistic Expectations About Your Life
This season heightens our expectations of having to be joyous. But when you equate your level of joy to career or life goals and when you haven’t reached these goals yet, then holiday depression syndrome can ensue. Rather than simply labeling yourself as a failure and becoming more depressed, take a proactive approach.
How to Beat It: Meditation is a great tool to help you turn things around, as it enables you to focus on the present, it increases concentration, and it eases feelings of anxiety. This way, you can accept your present situation, and you can have a clearer mind to revisit your goals and find new ways to move ahead in the new year. Check out these 7 Mini Meditations You Can Do Anywhere, Anytime.
Unrealistic Expectations About Your Family
This season can also heighten an inward expectation to experience the perfect family gathering. But if the rest of the year is fraught with difficult family situations, don’t expect this season to be dramatically different.
How to Beat It: “Try to be realistic and emphasize your family’s strengths rather than weaknesses,” says Robert Hales, chair of the UC Davis Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. You can also choose to gather important people in your life whom you consider as family and experience a festive gathering that you will enjoy.
An Unhealthy Diet
Overeating or drinking too much alcohol during the holidays is common. Eating too much can lead you to feel bad about yourself and hangovers will leave you feeling awful and at times, full of regrets, and possibly leading to holiday depression syndrome.
How to Beat It: One way to stop the holiday blues is by reminding yourself that this season is about more than engorging in food and drink. When you have countless events to attend, make the occasion about creating connections, rather than about eating and drinking too much. Moreover, don’t feel bad about saying no to an event, especially if you are sure it will lead to overeating or too much drinking.
Not Making Time for Yourself
You can get lost in all the activities and prioritize everyone else’s needs over yours, but even if this season is the time for giving, you need to be kind to yourself too.
How to Beat It: Getting better sleep, being out in nature, moving your body, and coming up with your own traditions are some of the ways you can feel content.
The Importance of Understanding Holiday Depression Syndrome
“Comparing the holiday blues to a depressive disorder is like comparing a cold to pneumonia,” Hales explains.
Nevertheless, it is important to understand how you are feeling.
Sometimes, being reassured by the company of your loved ones is enough to beat holiday depression syndrome.
But at other times, you need professional help.
So if you are struggling with depression this holiday season, please reach out for help
Click here to learn about this innovative, new, and effective depression treatment.