What are the symptoms?
The most frequent symptom experienced by many all over the world during the festive period is depression. And if you are already dealing with depression, this time of year presents several challenges. During the festive period, you may experience what is known as seasonal depression, and simple activities become more difficult than usual. This can might include struggling to get out of bed or making dinner.
Other symptoms of holiday blues might include the following:
- Struggling with concentration
- Feeling anxious, irritable or angry
- Feelings of constant exhaustion and fatigue
- Feelings of loneliness even in the presence of loved ones
- Losing interest in activities that you usually would enjoy
- Increase or decrease in sleep
- Having difficulty making decisions
- Isolating from friends and family
Unfortunately, when people feel overwhelmed during the holiday season, they adopt harmful coping mechanisms which only amplifies the symptoms of holiday blues. Excessive drinking, binge eating or unhealthy sleeping patterns are all triggers which can be avoided by making a conscious decision not to over-indulge.
Looking at triggers
Anyone is susceptible to the anxiety and depression that sets in with the holidays. This kind of blues doesn’t discriminate against gender or age, and is most often triggered by something specific that they’ve experienced in life. Although these triggers may be personal – loss of a loved one, or having a tight budget – they manifest in what’s referred to as the blues. Taking into account the most common reasons for feeling depressed around the holidays,
certain people are more vulnerable than others:
- Those without a partner, or family and friends to spend time with
- People in toxic relationships (family or romantic)
- Those who feel guilty about celebrating without loved ones they’ve lost
- People who are nostalgic about the past and don’t like how their lives have changed
With this in mind, all the expectations surrounding the holiday season can be rather overwhelming. Obligations to spend outside of budget causes stress, having to see people you’d rather not spend time with can cause tension and anxiety, etc.
What this can lead to is over-indulgence in food or drink as a way to cope with the negative emotions, trouble sleeping, and even constant headaches.