Christmas is often portrayed as a joyous time of year, but can be a difficult period for some. In reality though, the stress of getting the occasion to live up to expectations can have a negative impact on peoples' mental health, potentially resulting in 'Christmas depression' or the 'holiday blues'.
How do I know I've got Christmas depression?
There are many different symptoms that might indicate you are experiencing a form depression, some of which include:
- Feeling lonely
- Lack of energy
- Feelings of sadness and/or hopelessness
- Poor concentration
However, you don't have to have all of these symptoms to be able to diagnose yourself - if you feel something just isn't right then this could be a sign to take action.
When it comes to figuring out if your feelings are related to the fact it is Christmas time, you need to rule out possible other causes.
Check out our guide to seasonal affective disorder, as it can be common for some people to feel low at this time of year because of the reduced levels of sunlight.
Why do people feel depressed at Christmas?
There can be many answers to this, as everyone is different when it comes to how they react to certain situations and environments.
It goes without saying that this time of year can be a stressful one. Whether it's doing last-minute gift buying or cooking Christmas dinner, it's not unusual for people to feel the pressure of making sure the day is 'perfect'. Similarly, the number of social occasions that are taking place can lead to feelings of being rushed from one place to another with no time to sit back and relax.
Christmas can also be an expensive period, with financial pressure potentially adding to feelings of tension and anxiety.
Some people are even affected by Christmas coming to an end. After such a busy period of getting everything ready and spending so much time with friends and family, having it all finish can have a negative impact on their mood.
How to deal with Christmas depression
We've produced a small guide on managing Christmas depression that you might be interested to read.
Ultimately though, you should seek the help of your doctor when it comes to tackling the problem. Support groups are also available - both in the form of local networks and national organisations like The Samaritans, who are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
According to the Action on Depression charity, talking to people - anybody - can help. Similarly, watching your diet and indulging in a bit of 'me time' can potentially make a difference.
One of the worst things you can do is bottle up what you're going through. Even if it appears as though everyone else is enjoying the holiday, it doesn't mean you should suffer in silence.