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Overcoming holiday stress and depression

Updated: Feb 9

The holiday season is often depicted as a time of happiness, festivities and togetherness. However, for people it can be a period filled with feelings of sadness, solitude and increased stress levels. Holiday depression is a widespread issue that deserves our attention and empathy.

In this blog post we will delve into the causes of holiday depression. Explore ways to manage these emotions.

Understanding Holiday Blues

Elevate Mental Health, Camarillo, CA | Overcoming Holiday Stress and Depressions
Elevate Mental Health, Camarillo, CA | Overcoming Holiday Stress and Depressions
Although the specific triggers for holiday depression may vary from person to person there are some factors that contribute to this occurrence.

1. Unrealistic Expectations

The holidays are often associated with idyllic visions of flawless gatherings harmonious families and blissful celebrations. When reality falls short of these expectations feelings of disappointment and sorrow can arise.

2. Social Isolation

For those who find themselves separated from loved ones due to distance or personal circumstances during the holidays feelings of loneliness and isolation can become more pronounced.

3. Financial Strain

The pressure to buy gifts attend events and engage in holiday activities can lead to stressors that add an extra layer of pressure during an already demanding time of year.

4. Grief and Loss

The holidays can serve as reminders of loved ones who're no longer present, with us. Dealing with grief during this time of year can be particularly difficult.

Some people experience a type of depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) which is characterized by changes, in mood and energy levels due to the decreased sunlight during the winter months.

Strategies for Coping with Holiday Depression

Elevate Mental Health, Camarillo, CA | Strategies for overcoming Holiday Stress and Depressions
Elevate Mental Health, Camarillo, CA | Strategies for overcoming Holiday Stress and Depressions
1. Set Realistic Expectations

Rather than striving for a perfect holiday season, focus on having reasonable expectations. Recognize that imperfections are a part of life and embracing each moment as it comes can help alleviate some of the pressure.

2. Establish Boundaries

Learn to say no and establish boundaries to protect your well-being. It's perfectly fine to decline invitations or reduce commitments that contribute to stress.

3. Connect with Others

If you're feeling alone make an effort to connect with friends, family or local community groups. Attend gatherings, participate in events. Volunteer your time as a way to combat loneliness.

4. Create New Traditions

If traditional holiday activities cause stress, consider creating traditions that align better with your circumstances and preferences. This could be something as enjoying a cozy movie night or taking a peaceful nature walk.

5. Manage Finances Mindfully

Set a budget, for holiday expenses and stick to it.
Thoughtful presents don't have to be pricey and finding ways to celebrate on a budget can alleviate pressure.

6. Share Your Emotions

If you're experiencing grief or struggling with your feelings it's important not to keep them bottled up. Opening up to a trusted friend, family member or therapist can be a way to process your emotions and receive support.

7. Prioritize Self Care

Make self care a priority during the holiday season. Dedicate time, to activities that bring you happiness whether its reading a book listening to music or practicing mindfulness. Taking care of yourself is crucial during this time.

8. Seek professional Support

If your feelings of depression persist or become overwhelming it's crucial to reach out for help, from a health professional. They can offer guidance, support and therapeutic interventions to help you navigate the challenges.


Holiday blues affect many people. Its important to acknowledge and validate these emotions and know that it's possible to succeed in overcoming holiday stress and depression. But first, by understanding the factors that contribute to feeling down during the holidays and implementing coping strategies it's possible to navigate this season with resilience and self-compassion.

By setting expectations building connections, with others and prioritizing self care you can take proactive measures to effectively cope with holiday depression. Remember, it's important to prioritize your well being and make choices that enhance your sense of happiness and connection during this time of self reflection and bonding.

Do not let another holiday season pass you by filled with sadness, stress or anxiety. Elevate Mental Health provides in-person therapy in Ventura and Los Angeles Counties, along with telehealth in all of California. Contact us today to schedule your first session.

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