It’s again that time of year- Halloween is over, Thanksgiving is in a week and soon it will be Christmas Day. For many people the holiday season is a chance to have fun, spend time with family, travel, and get presents. To some, the holiday season is a reminder of not-so-nice things, and even means to fall into holiday anxiety or depression.
This news piece with Dr. Norman E. Rosenthal explores why for some, Christmastime doesn’t always mean fun and games.
Christmas can be a reminder of loved ones we have lost, or even if we end up alone and see people on Facebook or even those phony Christmas cards people send with everyone wearing the same sweater, we can feel a little on edge during the Holidays. Not only this but excessive drinking is also linked to holiday depression. holiday drinking can often be an issue. Bars might be filled with friends and family, but what about the guy all alone drinking a beer by himself? This happens a lot more than you would think, sadly.
There are always negative things about when the holidays roll around, weather your Vegan cousin comes to town to make you feel like shit cause you eat meat or your grandma always has something to say about your relationship status or that you have too many tattoos (the tattoo thing happens a lot) so coping in other ways besides drinking yourself into a coma can help with the holiday blues.
We often feel inadequate during the Holiday season. Everyone seems to have it all together, like half your Facebook friends decide to get engaged, and as cliche as that is, it can be disconcerting to some. Remember what you see online isn’t always the 100% truth. Don’t assume others are better off than you because they got a puppy for Christmas.
Of course we talked about loneliness, which seems to be the saddest thing of them all. Remember, not everyone has family, and some don’t have anyone to share the holidays with. Even if you are surrounding by friends and family, if you already are depressed nothing can really bring you out of that, in fact sometimes it can make things worse, because once again you’re comparing yourself to your cousins, or someone else- this can ruin your holiday too.
Financial woes is also a big contributor to holiday sadness. Many people struggle with paying their rent or feeding themselves, during the holiday they want to buy things for not only themselves but for others- and sometimes it’s not always a possibility. Studies have also found the over-commercialization of Christmas can be over whelming and it brings people down because they feel once again inadequate because they can’t afford a brand new car or expensive new phone. It seems every year they start throwing Christmas in your face earlier and earlier- I saw one the week before Halloween and was immediately like,ok, no.
We’ve also talked about Seasonal Depression before. This obviously comes with the territory as days get shorter, nights get colder, and you are less inclined to go out and do things because of the snow and cold.
Also, as we get older Christmas isn’t as fun as it was when we were kids. Getting socks and new comforters really is not the highlight of my year- therefore reminiscing can often lead you down a negative path. thinking about “the good old days.”
You might notice these things in yourself as Christmastime approaches, and some other things might come about like excessive drinking, over eating, and even trouble getting sleep because you are worried about how you might pay for a present for your mom, or in my case my mother lost her job and I worry about her during this season too. It’s important to remember what you get at Christmas doesn’t define you.
Coping with the holiday blues can go beyond having a glass of wine, though that might help in moderation.
Remember to think of yourself during the Holidays, you are your number one priority.
Don’t be unrealistic about what you cannot do- your parents aren’t going to love you any less because you can’t buy them a present.
Talk to your family and friends, and let them know how you feel, that’s what they’re there for.
If you see someone is lonely, maybe invite them for over- or if you yourself are feeling lonely you could volunteer and help others have a Merry Christmas.
I know the Holidays can be a hard time for everyone, not just those who suffer from depression, but it’s important to remember (most) people are in a better mood this time of year, so surround yourself with the love that’s meant to come from celebrating the Holidays.