Holidays are supposed to bring joy and happiness as they are the times when you can take a break from your work and spend time with people you care about the most. However, it is, in fact, completely normal to feel the opposite, let alone the fact that now we must experience holidays with the presence of the COVID-19 pandemic. Getting depressed as Christmas is approaching? Here are the reasons why we may feel that way and tips to manage our mental health during the holidays.
Why do you feel down before the holidays?
#1 Financial burden
It seems that consumerism has been taking over our holidays as we tend to spend more money on things that are not necessities just for the sake of holidays. For example, if you are a parent, your child(ren) may want Christmas gifts that are out of your budget. You grant your child(ren)’s wishes anyway because it is a special occasion, but it can bring you a financial burden, causing stress and affecting your mental health.
#2 Memories of loved ones who have gone
For people whose loved ones have passed away or have chosen to leave, holidays can be sorrowful. It is because holidays are meant for us to spend time with our beloved, family and friends; therefore, loneliness usually grows stronger as the people you care about the most are not here to be with you during the holidays while, for instance, you see others are having a great time with loved ones or memories with your beloved during the holidays in the past come rushing back, leading to depressive feelings.
#3 Worrying about COVID-19
One main thing about holidays is to get together with other people, which means our chance of exposing to COVID-19 may increase. Celebrating holidays under the influence of the COVID-19 pandemic can stress us out greatly as we may constantly be worried about getting sick through contact with others, which prevents us from fully enjoying the holidays. We may also choose to avoid seeing family and friends during the holidays to eliminate the risk of catching COVID-19, but social isolation, especially the times when we are supposed to socialise with our loved ones, can result in depression.
How to deal with holiday blues?
#1 Acknowledge your emotions
Remember that just because you are on holidays, it does not mean that you must force yourself to feel happy. If you recently have lost someone closed or are struggling with the current situation, you need to understand that it is okay not to feel okay, even during the holidays. Suppressing our emotions does not do us any good but makes our negative feelings stronger.
#2 Avoid social media
If you know that you are going to feel worse being alone while seeing pictures of others having fun with their family and friends during the holidays, then stop checking your social media. It is not necessary to celebrate the holidays if you do not feel like it or if holidays give you stress. Just spend the holidays like normal days and continue with the things that you enjoy when having free time, such as reading, exercising, or cooking.
#3 Learn to say ‘no’ to holiday pressures
You should always put your mental health as your priority so do not feel bad to decline an invitation or leave an event if you do not feel comfortable. Everyone will understand as we are all going through a difficult time together. you may only feel overwhelmed and not be able to enjoy the holidays if you say yes to something you do not prefer. Set a reasonable budget for the spending during the holidays and try not to exceed it to avoid burdening yourself financially. Holidays are about happiness rather than material possessions.
#4 Realise that some things are out of your control
If COVID-19 is hindering you from spending or enjoying the holidays with your loved ones, just know that some things are out of your control as chances are you can get COVID-19 doing groceries in the supermarket. Therefore, try not to be afraid to see your family if it means a lot to you and the most you can do is to strictly follow safety measures like properly wearing a mask and frequently wash your hands. We all deserve a break so go and enjoy your holidays as long as all disease prevention measures are in place.
#5 Seek help
This is always suggested when it comes to managing our mental health because we may still feel depressed regardless of our efforts to change it. Talk to your trusted family members and friends and if it does not work, seek help from mental health professionals. They are experts of mental wellness so they should be able to give you valuable, personalised advice to you.
Best wishes for a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! We hope you enjoyed this article. Share it and sign-up to our newsletter to get health tips and wellbeing guides straight to your inbox!
This article was independently written by Healthy Matters and is not sponsored. It is informative only and not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be relied upon for specific medical advice.