Holiday Depression and Stress (November 2021 Newsletter Article)

The holiday season for most people is a fun time of the year filled with parties, celebrations, and social gatherings with family and friends. For many people, it is a time filled with sadness, self-reflection, loneliness, and anxiety. We may be approaching another holiday season that looks differently than we want it to because of the pandemic, which may leave us with other difficult emotions.

What causes holiday blues?

Sadness is a truly personal feeling. What makes one person feel sad may not affect another person. Typical sources of holiday sadness include:

  • Stress
  • Fatigue
  • Unrealistic expectations
  • Over-commercialization
  • Financial stress
  • The inability to be with one’s family and friends

Local Therapist, Lynne Silva-Breen, offers a helpful acronym for getting through this difficult time: AGE

A is for Acknowledge
Acknowledge that this is difficult. Our challenges are real. Admitting this truth can give us more energy for creativity.
G is for Ground
Ground yourself in your physical and spiritual identity. Who are we? We belong to God and to each other. Remember that you are deeply loved. And don’t forget to move your body!
E is for Effort
When possible, get creative! Doing things differently can bring joy. Identify what is most important to you and find joy in celebrating it, whether it’s food, people, music, or de cor.

Other tips for coping with holiday stress and depression include:

  1. Make realistic expectations for the holiday season.
  2. Set realistic goals for yourself.
  3. Be realistic about what you can and cannot do.
  4. Do not put all your energy into just one day (i.e., Thanksgiving Day, New Year’s Eve). The holiday cheer can be spread from one holiday event to the next.
  5. Limit your drinking, since excessive drinking will only increase your feelings of depression.
  6. Spend time with supportive and caring people.
  7. Make time for yourself!