Why do the holidays sometimes not bring the Christmas spirit, but rather bring sadness and even a feeling of depression? The holiday blues can happen for a number of reasons.
We tend to expect something special around the holiday season, especially during Christmas time. This might be because since childhood we associate it with miracles and wish fulfilment. This is why we also tend to have very high expectations of these days. This can lead to a holiday blues, as these expectations are often unrealistic. We should try to remember that these are still ordinary days, despite the fact that for most they coincide with holidays. Thus, a person is expecting something special from an ordinary day, for example, he/she is not satisfied with the life he/she leads and hopes that everything will magically change overnight.
We often treat the New Years and birthdays, especially anniversaries, as a kind of “deadline” for certain goals we have. It becomes difficult to keep up with them if these goals are unrealistic or abstract, such as “to take care of my physical and mental health”, “to have a professional career”, “to find harmony with myself.” It’s okay to have goals, but it’s very important to make them realistic. And it is also important not to forget to take notice of everything we have actually done and achieved during the year and not concentrate on what we wanted and could not do.
On the other hand, social media contributes to the development of unrealistic expectations. Seeing how everyone boasts that they have been very productive all year and have achieved all their goals can negatively affect the mood. All of this can result in feelings of worthlessness, frustration, and eventually lead to holiday blues. One should remember that social media do not represent reality and, what seems ideal, is most likely far from being so. Let’s also remember that in real life, if a friend makes us feel bad, we will usually try to avoid any contact with him/her. Likewise, if we feel bad about some of our subscriptions, we can simply unfollow these people.
Additional stress is generated by new burdens added to those we already had: deadlines at work, organisation of parties and vacation planning, alterations in diet and sleep schedule, gifts purchasing… If the latter is added to the already existing financial problems, it can become a real problem. And if we have to spend the holidays in isolation due to COVID or simply because it was impossible to reunite with our family and friends, we can feel alone and depressed, while the media show a reality of jovial holidays that are very different to ours.
Let’s remember that holiday are just a couple of days. Don’t be overwhelmed planning the perfect parties with the perfect food, gifts and decorations, but rather think about what is truly important to you these days.