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Sometimes The Season Isn’t So Bright: How To Cope With Holiday Depression

by Lauren Pickens

For many people, the holidays never live up to their expectations. What should be the most wonderful time of the year ends up being the absolute worst time of the year.

Even while surrounded by friends and family, some people feel so alone and withdrawn during the holiday season. This dark mood can manifest internally or cause you to lash out on others.

If you feel this way, you should know that you aren’t alone. Although others may think that you’re being over-dramatic or irrational, there are reasons why you may be feeling this way and also strategies to help you overcome holiday depression.

holiday depression

How To Get Over Holiday Sadness

1. Trauma

Something that we all do during the holiday season is reminisce about the old times. However, not everyone’s memories of past holidays are fond ones. If you have gone through something traumatic, it can feel as though you are reliving that experience year after year.

What to do 

Instead of letting the memories of your past rule your present, try and make the most of the moments that you have now. The only power that your past has over you is the power that you give it.

Related: 5 Ways To Increase Your Willpower

This may take time and patience, but little by little, focusing on what you have instead of what you have lost will overpower your sadness. But it won’t happen until you make a conscious effort to move on. Sometimes being happy is a simple as choosing joy over misery.

2. Expectations

This is one of the most common causes for the holiday blues. Your hopes and expectations may be set a little too high. Although it’s a holiday, it’s just a day like any other. Things will go wrong. Mistakes will be made.

What to do 

Learn to roll with the punches. It’s fine to have expectations; just be realistic. Don’t let the little things drive you crazy. When our families are around and we’re dealing with a lot of stress, things that wouldn’t bother us on a normal day can drive us insane.

If you burn the dinner rolls or your relatives are getting on your nerves, just take a deep breath and keep on going. Instead of pointing out every flaw in your day, remind yourself that you may be feeling more sensitive than normal because you want everything to go well.

Related: How To Be Happy With Your Life (Because You Deserve It)

Plus, keep in mind that sometimes the worst holidays make for the funniest stories later on. Laughter can cure even the darkest of moods!

3. Envy

Along with trying to keep up with the Joneses, the media perpetuates a manufactured ideal of how blissful we should be on holidays. Everything from television commercials to sales ads surround us with images of jovial people inside impeccably decorated homes having the time of their lives.

The grass always appears to be greener on the other side, and this immense amount of pressure can make you feel inferior.

What to do

Try not to compare yourself to others. Your holiday may not be “Hallmark card” perfect, and that’s ok. Focus on taking stock of the things and the people that you do have.

Related: 7 Ways To Get Healthy After The Holidays

Holidays should be a time when you appreciate the things that are really important in life; not the materialistic things. Money can’t bring you happiness which is why you should celebrate the things in your life that you are truly grateful for.

The Takeaway

Holidays can be a magical time, but they can also be extremely draining. If you feel yourself slipping into a bad mood, think about what is bothering you and whether or not it’s something that can be avoided.

It may be one of the reasons mentioned in this article, or it could be something else. Thinking about why you are in a dark mood instead of lashing out or wallowing in your sadness might not immediately change the way that you feel about the holiday season, but it’s the first step to being able to enjoy the good things in life.


Lauren PickensLauren Pickens is a freelance writer and Inspiyr contributor. She holds Bachelor of Arts in Communications and enjoys writing about lifestyle and culture. To read more of her writing, visit her website.

Photo by DejanaBatalovic

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