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The holidays usher in a whirlwind of activities and demands from buying presents to hosting family. For others, it can mark a lonely time, where you feel isolated as you see others spending time with friends and loved ones. Our guide identifies some of the sources of holiday anxieties and provides coping techniques when you experience them.

What Causes Holiday Depression?

The holidays can produce feelings of anxiety, guilt, dread, depression, and more. If money is tight, having to pay more for gifts, food, and other gatherings adds to the pressures of daily life. If you possess social anxieties, the prospect of being in rooms with larger crowds could make you feel dread-to the point where you do not see the benefit of going.

And then there is fatigue. Life can be hectic enough. When you add in holiday parties, rushing around to shop, hosting family, and other obligations, it can wear you out. It is why it is crucial to take time during the holidays to focus on your peace and well-being.

Ways to Cope with Negative Feelings During the Holidays

  1. The first is to acknowledge you are stressed, overwhelmed, or anxious. Doing so isn’t admitting weakness. It is having the courage to confront the feelings you have.
  2. Once you do, reach out to a trusted friend or loved one to share how you feel. Having an accountability partner is crucial, as they can be the ones you go to (and vice versa) when you feel depressed or overwhelmed. If you do not have a friend or family member, consider a therapist. They will work with you to identify the source of your anxieties and create a plan to confront them.
  3. Next, you can minimize the feelings of becoming overwhelmed by setting a schedule. It is a wise way to take things in small steps. By setting small, realistic goals each day, you take steps to complete all the tasks you have without having to wear yourself out mentally.
  4. Divvy up tasks to make things less demanding for yourself. If you plan to have a Christmas party, make it a pot-luck. If money is tight, consider having everyone draw a name to buy a gift. That way, instead of purchasing many items, you only need to do one. And while others might not admit it, they might be in the same situation financially.
  5. Create some me-time . Go for a 15-minute walk every day, carve out some time to work on your favorite crafts or hobbies. The goal is to devote a small portion each day to things that will center and re-energize you.
  6. Moreover, it is okay to say no. If you are too tired, anxious, or stressed, then you should not force yourself to do things to please others. Some people are in the same boat as you and will completely understand. And even if they express surprise at you canceling, do not feel guilty about taking time for yourself. You are taking steps to achieve a better, more restful well-being. And that is most important.
  7. If you feel lonely during the holidays, consider joining a social or civic group. Many cities have Meetup groups, where you find others who share the same interests. You can also volunteer. There are many volunteer opportunities during the holidays where you can meet other people and feel connected to your community.
  8. Participating in 12-Step meetings can be a great way to connect with other people in recovery. Check out the AA Intergroup website to find virtual or in-person meetings to attend this holiday season. By keeping your recovery first, you’ll maintain a healthy frame of mind in the hectic days ahead.
  9. Most importantly, it is okay to receive professional help. It can be one of the most stressful times of the year, and if you feel discouraged, isolated, anxious, or overwhelmed, it is vital to have someone who will listen to you.

Receiving Help During the Holidays

The holiday season can also be a difficult time for people in recovery. Whether you’re feeling isolated from your loved ones, anxious about your first sober holiday season, or exhausted by all of your social obligations, we want to help. Contact us to learn more about our residential, outpatient, and extended care programs. Hope Starts Here!