The winter holidays are supposed to be the happiest time of the year. Except, sometimes they aren’t. If you feel depressed during the holidays and weighed down by anxiety or loneliness, you’re not alone. Commonly called the “holiday blues,” this real phenomenon affects many between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.
Some people turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with the holiday blues, but these substances only conceal their underlying feelings. Instead of forcing feelings of merriment and joy, admit to yourself that you’re experiencing the holiday blues. With a little help, you’ll be able to move past these feelings without relying on destructive habits.
What Are the Holiday Blues?
The holiday blues, or holiday depression as it’s sometimes referred to, are feelings of sadness, anxiety, loneliness or self-reflection experienced during the winter holiday season. This time of year may be happy for some, but the various stressors surrounding the holidays can lead to intense emotions as well.
Some of the causes that seem to contribute to the holiday blues include:
- Unrealistic expectations
- Outside pressure to feel happy
- Financial hardship and pricey Christmas shopping
- Memories of lost loved ones
- Loneliness or social isolation
- Stressful family gatherings
- Lack of energy or fatigue
- Loss of sunlight
- Underlying mental health conditions, like seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
How to Deal With Holiday Depression
If you feel sad, bummed or depressed this holiday season, don’t beat yourself up. You don’t need to turn to alcohol or drugs to mask your feelings or put on a happy face. Here are some tips for dealing with the holiday blues:
- Make plans ahead of time: Plan which parties and gatherings you’ll be attending well ahead of time. That way, you know you won’t be alone, and you’ll be able to mentally prepare yourself for any stressful events.
- Prepare a holiday budget: You know the holidays are coming, so if you plan on being a generous gift-giver, make a budget and start saving early. That way, you won’t have to worry about financial troubles during the holidays.
- Help someone in need: Whether it’s volunteering at a soup kitchen or lending a helping hand to an elderly neighbor, it’s hard to feel down when you help someone else. After all, giving to others is what the holidays are really about.
- Take time to rest: Instead of rushing from one holiday event to the next, take a break now and again to rest and recuperate.
- Avoid isolating yourself: While taking time for yourself is important, don’t hide away from others. Take time for those meaningful relationships in your life too.
- Feel what you feel: Feelings of grief or stress are bound to pop up during this high-pressure season. It’s okay to feel what you feel. Pretending to be happy will only make things worse.
Help for Addiction and Depression During the Holidays
If you or a loved one is struggling with holiday depression coupled with Drug or Alcohol Addiction, you are not alone. At 7 Summit Pathways, we provide individualized addiction treatment that works. We will partner with you as you break free from the bonds of addiction.
Give yourself the most important gift this holiday season — renewed purpose and healing in Recovery. Contact 7 Summit Pathways today or schedule your appointment with one of our knowledgeable and compassionate team members.