Christmas. It’s a joyful, happy time for most, but it can also be an incredibly difficult time for many. Sometimes it’s hard to wrap our minds around someone NOT sharing in the joy. Many experts will argue that depression seems heightened this time of year. So what is it about the holiday season that makes it such a difficult time for some? I’ve highlighted what I believe are the most common reasons behind the added difficulty.
1. Money. The act of gift giving can be a fun, heart warming experience, but many of us might not have the resources to do so. The holiday music starts well before Thanksgiving, and we’re bombarded by television and radio marketing and elaborate store displays. This will only make the helpless feeling of not being able to afford gifts, more concentrated.
2. Dispirit. Christmas is no doubt an exciting time, but the level of happiness some experience during this time will only make the dispair some feel seem even more elevated.
3. Loss. The holidays are about bringing friends and family together, but that isn’t possible for some. There are numerous reasons families and friends may be missing someone in their bunch, and if there’s grief involved, this feeling may be long lasting. While getting everyone together this time of year is important, it will only highlight the void left by the missing individual(s).
4. Disengagement. While some have too many ugly sweater party invitations to count, others might not have any events to attend – party or otherwise. This will likely heighten the feeling of loneliness.
5. Burn-Out. This time of year brings about added responsibilities and commitments. When we have more on our plate with no additional time to really fit it all in, something has to go. The first thing we usually sacrifice is our own self care. We’re tired and likely not engaging in our already established healthy behaviors. This will only exaggerate a despondent mood.
Many may also have additional personal struggles that are not included in this list. It’s important to remain aware of how you’re feeling this time of year and to seek support when the hopelessness seems too overwhelming.
For those who fit in with the happier lot, you don’t have to feel as if you must enter the holiday season with extreme trepidation; wondering if you’re going to cause someone a setback. We’re entitled to feel however we want. But if we can gain a little awareness about other perspectives, a higher level of understanding will take place.