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Coping with Depression and Anxiety During the Holidays

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Coping with depression and anxiety during the holidays can feel more challenging due to social & emotional expectations. From packed social calendars and work deadlines to personal losses and the dreary winter weather, coping with depression and anxiety during the holidays can put a damper on any ‘holiday spirit’ we hoped for. Who knew so many of us would find Elvis Presley’s classic tune about feeling blue at Christmas so familiar.

1. The Impact of Social Pressure on Depression and Anxiety

The expectation to radiate happiness and participate in festivities can be overwhelming, especially if you’re not in high spirits. It’s crucial to acknowledge and accept your true feelings without succumbing to societal pressures or resorting to unhealthy coping mechanisms like substance use. Embracing your own traditions or creating new ones with like-minded individuals can be a comforting alternative.

2. Overcoming Depression and Anxiety Means Dealing with Grief

Grief and loneliness can be particularly poignant during the holidays. It’s important to set realistic expectations and give yourself permission to modify or skip traditional celebrations. Seeking support from therapy, support groups, or understanding friends can provide solace and strength.

3. Managing Expectations & Your Social Battery

The idealized version of holidays can lead to unrealistic expectations. It’s essential to recognize your limits and communicate them to others. Prioritizing activities, learning to say no, and planning self-care routines can help manage holiday stress. Remember, it’s okay to celebrate in a way that feels right for you, even if it means deviating from conventional practices.

4. Anxiety-Free Gift Giving

Gift-giving should not be a financial burden. Setting a budget, opting for gift exchanges, or expressing generosity through acts of service can be meaningful and less stressful alternatives. Remember, the essence of giving lies in the thought and care behind the gesture, not the monetary value.

5. Preventative Measures for Seasonal Affective Disorder

Reduced sunlight during winter can trigger or worsen depression. Maximizing exposure to natural light, engaging in outdoor activities, and using bright indoor lighting can help. For those experiencing severe symptoms of SAD, consulting a healthcare professional for treatments like light therapy, counseling, or medication is advisable

6. Overcoming Loneliness & Isolation to Relieve Depression Symptoms

If you’re feeling isolated, actively seek connections through regular calls, social media, or sending holiday cards. Engaging in calming activities and maintaining a balanced lifestyle are also vital for mental well-being.

coping with depression and anxiety during the holidays

When to Seek Professional Help

If feelings of anxiety or depression persist for more than two weeks or continue after the holidays, it’s important to consult a mental health professional or a primary care physician. You can find help by calling or texting the mental health hotline:

    • 1-855-654-6735
    • www.njhopeline.com
    • or  Text HOME to 741741 to connect with a volunteer Crisis Counselor


The holiday season doesn’t have to be a source of undue stress. By understanding your emotional needs, setting realistic expectations, and seeking support when necessary, you can navigate this period with greater ease and comfort. Remember, prioritizing your mental health is the best gift you can give yourself and your loved ones.