Why Do Depression and Anxiety Increase During the Holidays?

November 28th, 2018 in General Counselling

Why do depression and anxiety increase during the holidays?

Answer: Depression and anxiety are at a high during the holidays because of a number of increased demands, including financial and family commitments.

With the holiday season comes an increase in demands and stresses on a person. Plus, family issues are more likely to arise as large gatherings of people are congested into small spaces, some of which may feel “forced”.

Increased Demands

An increase in the number of seemingly-required activities and to-dos during the holiday season can cause a lot of emotional stress. Coupled with potential loss of sleep, disruptions to regular schedules, and the potential for financial stress during the holidays – many people find this time of year to be very trying.

Family Concerns

During the holidays, family are expected. If here are any ongoing current issues between family members, those concerns are sure to come up. Especially in times when there may have been loss, estrangements, or disfunctions among family members – stress between family members can be a cause of depression or anxiety during the holiday season.

How to Handle the Holidays

Managing expectations over the holiday season can help you to conquer the season without the added anxiety and depression. Be realistic about expectations on yourself: you may need to let go of the ideals of the holiday that put too much strain on your mental health – if you are expected to be at multiple family functions, maybe commit only to one. Offer alternate gift ideas to help with financial strain: maybe a “secret Santa gift exchange” instead of buying gifts for everyone? At the end of the day, remember that you are in control of your schedule and your overall goal for the holiday season should be to keep yourself happy and healthy.

If you need to, seek the help of a therapist or counsellor. Having someone experienced to help you to set expectations can start you off on the right foot for the holiday season.