When the Holidays Aren't Happy

Blog Single

The holiday season is often known for being “the most wonderful time of the year.” However, some people find themselves struggling as the weather begins to cool down. If you’re dreading the holiday season, know that you’re not alone. The season of joy can be very difficult to get through if you’re grieving, under a lot of stress, or feel alone. It’s important to know that you’re not alone and it’s OK to not be OK during the holidays.

Why Do I Feel Sad During the Holidays?

There are many different reasons one may feel sad or stressed during the holiday season. With the holidays come many expectations of family gatherings, present hunting, planning lavish meals, and spreading holiday magic. All of these expectations can be overwhelming or depressing for some people.

As one spends all of their time, money, and energy planning the perfect holiday, they may build the expectation that everything will go flawlessly and feel magical. Any little mishap or imperfection in their holiday may leave them feeling incredibly disappointed.

The holidays also come with an expectation of being surrounded by family and friends. If you are grieving the loss of a loved one or struggling with conflict within your own family, the holidays may bring a whirlwind of emotions.

As the weather changes, some people may begin to experience what is known as seasonal depression (or seasonal affective disorder). This is a form of depression that comes and goes as the seasons change. If you have found yourself with a low mood or experiencing depressive symptoms every winter, you may need to talk to a mental health expert.

The holidays can be tough. Fortunately, there are things you can do to make the holiday season a little easier on yourself.

How to Help Seasonal Depression and Other Mental Health Struggles This Holiday Season

The holidays can be difficult for many. Here are some self-help tips for depression and anxiety this holiday season.

Accept your feelings

Allow yourself to experience your thoughts and emotions as you experience them. Don’t try to bottle them up, as this will only make things worse. As a matter of fact, studies have suggested that bottling up your emotions can have a harmful impact on both your mental and physical health.

Finding healthy ways to express your emotions may be one of the most important things you can do to get yourself through this holiday season. The next time you are feeling sad, angry, or even happy- allow yourself a moment to pause, acknowledge what you are feeling, and, if you are experiencing a negative emotion, do something to make yourself feel better.

Learn to say no

The holidays can come with many expectations at work and at home. If you’re stretched too thin or just don’t have the support you need, give yourself permission to say no to invitations, requests for help, or other people’s expectations.

Burnout is a very real thing and can come with a set of its own mental and physical health issues, like a loss of motivation, a weakened immune system, and depression.

Take care of your health

Speaking of mental and physical health, taking care of yourself is one of the most important things you can do during tough seasons- especially the winter seasons. The winter season is often accompanied by cold and flu season. When you pair that with holiday expectations that can put extra stress on both your physical and mental health, you have a recipe for disaster. A few steps you can take to take care of your health include:

  • Eating nutritious food. We all know that eating healthy is great for your physical health, but did you know it can benefit your mental health, as well? Studies have suggested that consuming certain foods may reduce the risk of depression and anxiety.
  • Getting daily exercise. Exercise is a self-care habit that has tons of beneficial effects on your mental and physical health, making it super important this holiday season.
  • Getting enough sleep. Your body and brain need rest. Not getting enough sleep- whether it be short- or long- term can have a negative impact on your mood, cognition, and immune system.
  • Practicing relaxation techniques. It is believed that relaxation techniques can help reduce stress and anxiety, ultimately benefiting mental and physical health. Relaxation techniques include practices like meditation, breathwork, and progressive relaxation.

Seek Help If Needed

If you are truly struggling with your mental health this season, know that you do not have to do this alone. At Michigan Psychological Care, we know that everybody needs support sometimes. If you would like to talk to a professional about the stress or pain you are experiencing this holiday season, contact us today.



Keywords: how to help seasonal depression, self-care, how to help seasonal affective disorder, self help for depression and anxiety