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5 Conditions That May Drive "Holiday Depression"

...and 5 solutions to break free.

Key points

  • Sometimes holidays are attached to traumatic events, such as accidents, personal betrayals, or other heartbreaking memories.
  • Several factors contribute to feeling depressed during the holidays, such as loneliness, loss, or health problems.
  • Avoiding alcohol and increasing self-care are two actions you can take to lesson the symptoms of holiday depression.
Photo by Joshua Rawson-Harris on Unsplash
Source: Photo by Joshua Rawson-Harris on Unsplash

Is there anything worse than feeling depressed on the holidays? The whole world seems to be celebrating, and you want to crawl into a hole.

Sometimes the holidays can be a painful reminder of events that trigger deep sadness or regret.

Five common conditions behind "holiday depression"

The five most common causes of holiday depression are:

1. Trauma

Sometimes traumatic events attach to holidays, such as accidents, personal betrayals, or other heartbreaking memories. As holidays become associated with those events, they awaken painful memories of unhappy times.

2. Loss

Grief can darken a holiday. The holiday may seem empty and pointless when a particular person is missing from the festivities. Feelings of loss are felt more acutely during holidays.

3. Isolation

Being companionless on holidays may add to feelings of despair, especially if you can see or hear others celebrating. As you become more isolated, you may struggle with low self-worth and depression.

4. Social Pressure

Members of the majority tend to dictate customs and social norms. Unfortunately, If you’re not part of the majority, you may feel like an outcast. Being a non-conformist has its perks, but during holidays the pressure to conform increases and can increase distress.

5. Health problems

Health problems complicate holidays by limiting what you can do. Travel may be difficult or even impossible; fatigue or exhaustion from illness can also bring you down. Compromising the holidays due to health issues frequently triggers hopelessness.

Breaking free of holiday depression

To break free of holiday sadness, you'll need to put more effort into self-care. Here are a few suggestions to take the sting out of holiday depression.

1. Reward yourself: Don't wing it; plan something special. Hiking, a movie, or a concert — it doesn’t matter what you do as long as it brings pleasure and comfort.

2. Ditch the party: Don’t force yourself to attend a party you dread. If you prefer to stay home or have dinner with a close friend, it’s a better choice. Trust me; you won’t regret it.

3. Avoid alcohol: If you tend toward depression, alcohol is sure to make you feel worse. It’s hard on your body and your psyche, and it increases symptoms of depression.

4. Acts of service: There is always someone less fortunate than you who could use a helping hand. Look for volunteer opportunities to connect you with a community that shares your values and interests.

5. Create your custom: If holidays bum you out, try to create new activities. Get out of town or travel, anything to break the holiday monotony.

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