In Relationships

There are so many reasons why the Holiday season can be triggering for us. From unresolved childhood trauma to financial and social pressures, it can be a lot. For many people, the holidays are when we tend to gather our families for the first time in the year, which can bring up a lot of feelings.

Common Holiday Difficulties

Holiday stress can be very overwhelming for many folks. Just what is it about the holidays that now stresses us out as adults, when it was nothing but joy and excitement for some of us as children? What has changed?

Cute little girl is unhappy with her Christmas gift

Unrealistic expectations

Why are the holidays difficult for us as adults? From the perspective of somebody who celebrates holidays such as Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, where has the magic gone?

Of course, as we grow up we learn the truth about where our presents really come from. Our favorite holiday characters that made our holiday season so magical, suddenly vanish and we’re left to find our own magic.

As we start to get older, the teenage years disappear and adulthood begins, we are forced to readjust our expectations. However, some still hold onto the expectations that these holidays will be as magical for us now as they were when we were kids. But in reality, it will never be the same. Our imaginations will have dimmed since childhood as we meet the burdens of adulthood and the stress that comes with everyday adult life.

Unresolved childhood scars

Holidays can remind us of our childhoods, the good and bad. It is common for some families to see each other for the first time in the year during the holidays, which is why you may find yourself flooded with some painful memories.

When we don’t address the scars and trauma we face, they never really go away. At least, the feelings caused by the memory won’t go away unless you do some work.

house with a lot of christmas lights

Pressure to show off

It’s not uncommon for families to show off during the holiday season. It’s a time when the whole family gathers, and criticism and judgment are likely to occur. People tend to compare themself to others, whether it be their financial situation or relationship status. Most people do this without realizing it, and some are unhealthy by gossiping or worrying too much about what people think. I’m sure we are all victims of this.

It’s extremely common for family relationships to turn into surface-level relationships as we get older, especially when we are healing from trauma and realize we need a step back from the toxicity of some family members.

Depression

There are so many reasons why the holidays can cause depression. For starters, the cold weather can be a mood dropper for many. The winter blues we call them. Seasonable depression is super common.

All of the pressure and stresses associated with the holiday and/or family reunions can be enough to cause depression, by bringing up things we’d rather avoid.

Women quarreling at kitchen

Social Pressure

It’s normal to be scared about being criticized and try to overcompensate by showing off in other aspects. Many of us know all about the pressure from family to be in a relationship and have children once we reach a certain age. This can be especially hard on people that don’t want that lifestyle or are struggling to conceive.

The effects of the pandemic on Holidays

The pandemic has seen many people spend the holidays alone. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that many people might have just stopped celebrating their favourite holidays all together. I’m here to tell you, it doesn’t matter. These things are our of our control so lets enjoy the things that we can still do!

The winter blues

The winter blues, or seasonal depression can really get us down. If you feel like you’re experiencing this, it would be a great idea to speak to a professional. Our therapists at Psych Company are highly trained in these areas and can provide you with some great insights.

Financial pressures

The holidays can be a huge financial burden, especially for parents. It’s crazy how expensive holiday’s like Christmas can get. Parents want to make Christmas as special as possible, but the cost that goes into that can be enough to cause quite a lot of stress.

The cost of having to buy gifts for those around you can really add up. There can be additional pressure about how much you spend on each person, feeling awkward if your gift is cheaper than theirs.

The best thing you can do to avoid this stressor is to budget for Christmas is advance. Write down how much you will be spending on each person, or each activity, and plan for it well ahead of time. Then the costs of the holidays becomes something you have prepared for, rather than something you’ve had to struggle for.

Dissatisfied young woman waiting for good Christmas present, lady with disappointment opening box.

Disappointment

Christmas will never be how it is in movies. Kids these days are seeing what their friends are getting for Christmas, and comparing themselves to them. It can be hard to be grateful and learn gratitude when we are comparing ourselves to our peers from such a young age.

As adults, the magic from Christmas will never be the same. Our imaginations have decreased and we won’t enjoy it as much as we did when we we’re children. Many children who celebrate Christmas would have no stress in the world, and now we are responsible for everything that goes into it, including carrying the associated stress.

Spread the joy to others

Many parents have learned to find joy in Christmas by giving it to their children. If we are proactive and plan, we can decrease the stress and focus on creating the best Christmas for our children or others. You don’t have to have your own children to do this either. It can be someone else in your family or the children of a friend. If this isn’t an option there are still other things we can do to make holiday’s such as Christmas more enjoyable.

Parents Tickling Children As Family Sit On Sofa Celebrating Christmas Together

How Can You Get into the Christmas Spirit?

One way to turn your Christmas frown upside down is by making an effort to get into the Christmas spirit.

Christmas baking

Why not bake some Christmas cookies or whatever your favourite treats are. You can enjoy them alone, or with the family. You could even make some for others to enjoy.

Decorate your space

I don’t know about you, but when my space is decorated for Christmas, I find it extremely depressing. When I first moved out from parents house, I forgot to decorate my new space and it was horrible. Going forward I made sure to make time for getting my space into the holiday spirit.

Don’t compare yourself to others

There is never any good in comparing ourselves to others. None of are the same, or had the same head starts in life. We also don’t get to choose our family or how we grew up, so keep that in mind as you see how much fun others are having on social media, or the price of the present your friends have received. None of it matters. Social media is not real anyways, there’s no way of seeing the truth behind bragging posts. It’s very likely that any individuals you feel jealous of are also sad or have anxiety and depression as well, but don’t show it.

A senior in a santa claus hat sits in an armchair using laptop holding a credit card on the background of christmas tree

Treat yourself

Buy yourself a present, or focus on self care. Have a nice bath with nice bath salts and candles. Do a face mask and a full body workout. Just spending time focusing on yourself will go a long way. Self care can really help your cope a little better with your depression or loneliness.

Volunteer

Why not spend some of your time spreading joy to others who desperately need it. The holidays can be a difficult time for many. While we might be dealing with loneliness and having mental health struggles around this time, others will be too. It would go along way to spend some of your time volunteering at a food bank for example. Homeless people are struggling the most during these cold and dark months, and your efforts could go a long way for others.

Cook yourself a delicious Christmas dinner

If you’re missing out on a traditional dinner, just make it for yourself! Who said we need to be surrounded by people in order to have a Turkey dinner. The best part about being an adult is that we can do whatever we want without many rules!

Stay connected virtually

If you’re feeling lonely, don’t forget that you can still connect with people virtually. It may not be the same, but making time to video call with family or friends will help you feel a little more connected. Especially if you’re missing loved ones around the holidays. We all need to talk sometimes, and especially during the holiday season which is associated with a sense of community and loved ones.

Woman dancing on a party over colorful background with confetti

Being alone during the holidays

Notice how all of the tips above apply to somebody who is alone during the holidays? You don’t need anybody to enjoy yourself if that’s what you choose. There are always things we can do to enjoy our time. So instead of focusing on the things that are out of your control, focus on the things that you can control!

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woman sites with child in hallways visible sadness and depressed