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“Holiday blues” or “holiday depression” are terms used to describe the stress, anxiety and low mood that are triggered by stressors associated with winter festivals. “Holiday depression” is sometimes a misnomer as people may experience difficulties in the holiday season that do not meet the criteria for a diagnosis of depression.
Triggers of Holiday Blues / Depression
Possible triggers include:
- Relationship concerns
- Physical concerns
- Experiences from previous holidays
- Media images of the holidays
- Lack of sunlight
- Existing responsibilities and stressors
Holiday Blues / Depression and Being Realistic
Holiday celebrations do not have to fit in with the picture-perfect media portrayals. In reality, relatives argue, people turn up late and cooking goes wrong, and this all happens on top of existing responsibilities and stressors. By accepting this and breaking tasks down into small, manageable chunks, it will likely be easier to cope when something doesn’t go as planned.
Holiday Blues / Depression and Keeping Healthy
It’s fine to splurge now and again but excessive consumption of festive foods and alcohol increases health risks. Eating healthily and getting some exercise might sound unattractive, but not doing so may attribute to energy loss and low mood. For those who are affected by lack of sunlight, going out for regular walks in the daytime will kill two birds with one stone.
Holiday Blues / Depression and Breaking Traditions
Traditions aren’t mandatory. They can be modified, replaced by new ones or dropped altogether. Some people prefer a quiet Christmas alone without any hype, and they have that choice, even if it doesn’t fit in with other people’s ideas. By the same logic, people should accept if their loved ones want to spend the holidays doing something different.
Holiday Blues / Depression and Money
Holiday food, gifts, travel and decorations can all be expensive, which is why budgeting is useful. Homemade cards and gifts are thoughtful without necessarily being costly, and reusing decorations will also save money in the long run. Those hosting a holiday dinner can ask guests to pitch in by bringing something, which will also relieve stress about preparing food and drink.
Holiday Blues / Depression and Taking Care
Taking time out and seeking support from loved ones will ease holiday burdens and help others to understand the struggles. People often consider what others want during the holidays. What if they took time to consider what is best for themselves?