Causes for the “Holiday Humbugs”

Generally, the holidays are a time of happiness, a time for spending quality time with family and friends, a time filled with excitement, joy and generosity but, the truth is…that’s not the case for everyone. In fact, the holidays can be a time of loneliness, depression, and anxiety for many.

I like to call them the Holiday Humbugs.

There can be a number of triggers and reasons for people to experience these emotions during the holidays. Some experience depression simply because they are not able to be around their family. Given the current state of our economy, and Covid 19, this may hit closer to home for most. Not to mention having to put on your best “I’m fine” impression to ward off Aunty Vivian’s barrage of imposing questions and brazen opinions about your relationship status, and the extra pounds you put on since last year. Still, others may be experiencing financial hardships, while some are just tired and lonely.

There’s also always the stigma of unrealistic expectations as it relates to the holiday season, thinking the holiday spirit will make it all better. The insistent Christmas ads and decorations everywhere make it that much more difficult to ignore the looming Humbugs of depression and anxiety.  

Long story short, the holidays are truly a time of high emotions, expectations, and demands which can leave you feeling numb.

Coping with Depression During the Holidays

When it all seems to be becoming too much, here are just a few practical ways to cope.

Move Your Body

Exercise has proven to improve your mood. Exercise causes a chemical reaction where endorphins are released in your brain, which makes you feel good. During the holidays we find time for everything else but we easily forget our physical and mental health. Doing regular exercise during this season will not only keep you fit physically but also, reduce your stress and anxiety levels.

Limit Your Time on Social Media reports that 95 million photos are uploaded to Instagram daily. Did you get that? Ninety five million! That’s almost 100 million smiles, selfies, and scenery flashing before our eyes with captions like “living my best life” entering our psyche as we navigate the chaos of our daily routines.

With social media gaining influence, we live less in the moment and more in a world of full of filters, photoshop, and false realities that affect our overall mental health and happiness. A social media detox can actually do you some good. Spending a lot of time on social media can trigger depression because sometimes watching how others spend the holidays and having fun with family and friends can be triggering if it is a case where you are in the opposite situation. There is nothing social about a platform when it has a more negative than positive effect on your health and wellbeing. Spending less time on social media can exponentially increase your quality of life by allowing you to focus on what matters. Try reviving hobbies such as writing, blogging, and sketching.

Shift Your Focus

The holidays can cause a false belief that everything will turn out perfect simply because it’s the season. This is not true and oftentimes you will find yourself in a situation less favorable to the season and you end up being so sad or depressed about it because your expectations were just too high and unrealistic. Therefore it is important for you to focus and appreciate what is in front of you this season instead of glooming over what did not turn out as expected.


Anxiety and sadness can be a result of wanting or expecting everything to be perfect during the holiday. Instead, reframe and focus on all of the positives this season brings. Take some time to appreciate those around you and what you have. Focus on those things that are within your control and less on the things that are beyond what you can do. Many of us tend to give a lot of ourselves during this time, but it is important to pay attention to our own mental wellbeing in this season. Grounding ourselves and a little self-care are simple, yet remarkable ways to limit feelings of anxiousness and sadness. It is absolutely necessary to intentionally take time for yourself to unwind, decompress, and to relax. It will allow you to always show up as your best self for you and for those you love.

Have the holidays become unbearable for you? Are you finding that you are unable to cope? We’re holding space for you. Book your session today!