6 causes of Christmas stress and depression


No doubt the celebrations of Christmas and New Year’s are moments of love, joy and happiness. At least this is how it should be or how we want to believe it is. Unfortunately for many people Christmas holidays is a period of depression and stress.

There are many situations that affect the beauty, charm and spirit of holidays. Many people each for different reasons feel too much tension, some surrender to depression, others get frustrated because they can not do everything that they wanted to do in such a short period of time.

Apart from the emotional stress and mental intensity that can harm our health during the holidays, there are also the rich dishes that are not the best thing for our diet and physical health. The foods that are rich in calories, salt, fats and carbohydrates are ceaseless temptations even for those with a very strong will.

The reasons that make Christmas and generally holiday periods, a period of stress and depression for some people are a lot. These range from personal, economic to physical and emotional. Below we outline the main causes of stress and depression during the Christmas period.

Causes of stress and depression during Christmas

1. Absence of a beloved person

The absence of a beloved person during the holidays creates feelings of loneliness and regret. Additionally people who feel loneliness and depression when they see other people having a good time, then the situation is getting worse.

2. Family misunderstandings

Conflicts and stressed relations in several cases come to the surface this time of the year. Usually people want to gather the whole family together for Christmas, but everyone has plans and sometimes there is conflict because people prefer to spend the holidays in their own home.

Although family gatherings are wonderful there are also people who need to take advantage of holidays and get some time for themselves or for their close family only. In addition, many families have «roles» for each member (e.g. the «small child») that relate to how this person was in the past and not how it is now. This may cause more anxiety, stress and less pleasure.

There is also the possibility that people have high expectations these days from other people. People might expect perfect conditions with expensive gifts and positive response by all. This is not usually the case and this increases the chances to feel disappointed and the risk of sadness and depression are increased.

3. The economic difficulties

Many families, for various reasons face financial difficulties, especially nowadays that the economy is under recession. The holidays add an extra burden to their already tight budget. It is likely that there is no available money to buy gifts, presents or clothes for Christmas. As a result some people even use more money than they can actually afford and this worsens their financial situation even more.

During holidays there are many parties, celebrations and gatherings that require the spending for food and drink. This creates the need to put the hands deep in the pocket, both for gifts and to pay for the restaurants and bars.

The temptations such as food, the cocktails, purchases and gifts is high and leads many people to feel stress for the consequences of their actions (gain more weight, headache, depression, overdrafts). These effects remain after the end of the holidays and cause even more stress and depression.

4. Physical tiredness

One of the main reasons that the holidays bring with them intense stress is that suddenly there are many requirements and people have to do many things in a short period of time. Even when the activities are basically pleasant and enjoyable, they are a change from the daily routine that people are used to.This situation is pushing the person to do more things than it can normally do.

Shopping, the need for finding gifts, participation in various social events and obligations, the preparation of Christmas dishes and other sweets all create stress and fatigue.

And let us not forget the disappointment created when gaining that extra kg while in fact you are trying to lose weight.

5. Loneliness

For many people especially the elderly, the loneliness is a real issue during the holidays. They may not have someone to sit with them in the dinner table; they may not even have a festive table or even people to speak. Many old people also have no friends, either because they are ill or because they are no longer alive.

But younger people who rely only to friends, can be found alone and without invitation during the holidays. These situations create perfect candidates for depression.

6. Seasonal Emotional Disturbance

A real psychological problem, which coincides with the period of holidays but unfortunately is not so easily recognized, is the seasonal emotional disorder. This disorder occurs when autumn gives way to winter. As daylight is reduced and people spend more time inside they are affected by a form of depression that is known as a «seasonal emotional disorder».

Although it is a mild form of depression it is annoying and affects the person who is suffering from it. It creates a source of anxiety and worry at a time when the general expectation is that everybody should be happy.

We must understand and accept that in life things are not perfect and beautiful as in television shows and films. Often life is unpredictable and we should focus on things that make us happy and we should always be thinking positive for the future.

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  • Great post – and I think it can be summed up into one word: expectations.We put expectations on ourselves and we accept the expectations of others. These expectations are often contrary to what we want, so we feel bad.If we can rid ourselves of expectations (without becoming wholly selfish) then we can do a lot to clear ourselves of the negativity.Unfortunately that’s much easier said than done because the media and marketing imposed expectations around the holiday season come at us fast and thick!

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