The Emotional and Mental Impact of the Holiday Season: How to Beat the Holiday Blues

It is that time of the year when we face a lot of nostalgia, a shuffle in our routine. We feel a bit “different” from the rest of the days. The holiday season brings many feelings and subtle changes in ourselves and the life that we live. Be it getting a vacation from work or commemorating the occasions with our loved ones on special days. All of these differences bring up some change in our mental health, as it is better known as the holiday blues or holiday depression.

So, what are the holiday blues? This article hints at the subtleties the holiday season has – the impact of it on our emotional and mental health and how to beat the holiday blues. Here are 3 ways that the holiday season may impact you and how to manage it.

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The Holiday Blues

1.      We May Feel Sadder

photo of man leaning on wooden table, holiday blues.
Photo by Andrew Neel on

Most people associate special occasions with their past. For example, in the past, a person might be celebrating that special holiday season with their friend or a certain family member. The loss of a loved one gets a bit heavier on the special occasion as one might feel a bit lonelier than usual, given the absence of that special loved one. This loss can bring feelings of sadness and loneliness that are on the rise when that special occasion finally comes bringing on the holiday blues.

How to Manage It?

Allow your feelings to pass, and don’t suppress them. Talk to your loved ones about the person you lost and remember them with kind feelings. You deserve the moment to take a pause in the holiday season and grieve. Healthy grieving is nothing to be guilty about, especially when you wish they were there with you on a special holiday. For example, you can arrange special prayer for them when you are at the thanksgiving dinner table. Talk about it and feel it to feel light.

Also, it is fine for you if you don’t feel like celebrating a certain day or taking part in an activity. Give yourself the space to not celebrate when it becomes too hard for you to be in a celebratory mood. Doing it as you pretend will only hurt you further and will do no one a favor in the end, so always be yourself.

2.      We May Feel Anxious

stressed man touching his face
Photo by Mental Health America (MHA) on

In the world of social media (Facebook, Instagram, etc.) and all kinds of flashy profiles, the holiday season is often seen as more of a challenge than as a simple occasion bringing on the holiday blues.

People will spend all kinds of money and energy to make sure they look the “happiest” and the “best” when they celebrate the moment. It can trigger feelings of anxiety, the fear of “missing out,” and the undue holiday stress of not feeling happier than other people on occasion. It is especially common in younger people who often find themselves in a competitive environment time and again. Social media can be a big contributor to the holiday blues.

How to Manage it?

It is actually all right to feel anxious in the fancy world we live in. The key is not to get too hard on yourself and remember that nothing you see on social media depicts the reality of the individual. We all want to look our best and make sure nothing that we do or behave makes people see us as weak individuals. So, instead of comparing that utopia to your reality, try patting yourself on the back for being able to live in the moment and relax as you enjoy the holiday season that is bestowed on you.

If we feel grateful for the simple things in life, we will feel a lot happier than before. If the trigger gets too much for you to handle, delete your social apps for a while and avoid using your mobile phone. The holiday season is the time when you spend time with yourself and your family, not some strangers on the internet who make you feel more alone.

3.      We May Feel Stressed

man in blue and brown plaid dress shirt touching his hair
Photo by Nathan Cowley on

Some people are wired to work and live every day where they get up and get right to work. A sudden break or slowdown in their routine can cause them to feel stressed. It can make them feel as if they are missing out on their deadlines or are wasting their time as they are not productive in the breaks. As a result, they get into a vicious cycle of stress which they find too overwhelming to cope with and will bring on the holiday blues.

Adults going through academic or career peaks often face this stress the most. People with a huge financial load or people running a business may find free time as a waste that they could use to their benefit. When they are invited over to dinners or expected to make time for their family and loved ones, they often get frustrated.

How to Manage It?

Perhaps the most suitable answer for such people will be to see this holiday season as a chance to refresh and recharge. It will be a savior for you that will protect you from unseen burnouts and brain fogs that not only hamper your progress but also damage it in ways you might never expect.

So, it is always important to recognize the power of this break – how important will it be for you to “clear” your head for more productivity and creativity to flow through your brain? Think of it as an investment you make in yourself rather than time wasted. Doing so will help you to look at things from a new perspective and arrive at better results.

While these feelings are valid, you can make sure you live through them in healthy ways by dealing with them rationally. Read my blog, Learn How Stress and Anxiety Are Killing Your Health.

Beating the Holiday Blues

Check out this video from Yale University on Beating the Holiday Blues.

Final Word

As you can see, these are some less-talked-about aspects of the holiday season. You may be feeling anxious, stressed, or even depressed during the special days when everyone out there is singing songs and making memories.

Know that it is all right to feel whatever you are feeling during the holiday season, and it has nothing to do with how you are or should be as a person. The only negative thing will be to not allow yourself to feel a certain way just because you are conventionally conditioned and expected to feel “happy” and “excited” in the holiday season. Don’t allow this to bring on the holiday blues.

Go to the comment section and let us know your thoughts.

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Photo by Nik Shuliahin on Unsplash and by Gino Crescoli from Pixabay

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