The Christmas adverts have started, carols can be heard playing on the radio, shops have the decorations out and companies are starting to plan their annual festive shindig. It’s official, the countdown to Christmas has started.
For most of us, this is an exciting and happy time but the National Institute of Health has revealed that Christmas is actually the time of year when people experience the highest incidences of depression and feeling low.
There are many reasons reasons why this could be but one of the most obvious is that not everybody is surrounded by friends and family. Whilst many of us will spend Christmas Day around the dinner table surrounded by mountains of food and laughter from loved ones, not everybody has this luxury.
For those who don’t have a network of people around them, Christmas simply highlights that they are all on their own and this will understandably increase feelings of sadness and anxiety.
Christmas can also be a very expensive time of year. Presents, parties, food, decorations and new outfits add up very quickly and this time of year can therefore be a huge burden on us.
Work can be very stressful as well. Some businesses are very quiet around the festive period which can once again highlight financial pressures. On the other end of the spectrum however, Christmas can be a very busy time for other companies. This can put a huge amount of pressure on employees as they’re trying to ensure that everything is completed before the break starts.
Finally, Christmas is tough for those already struggling with depression. The holidays are supposed to be a time of joy and many people with depression feel they are supposed to be happy during Christmas. This means the depressed feel guilty for being depressed at a time when they are supposed to be in high spirits. They may even feel like they are bringing down the holiday cheer for other people which may make them feel even worse.
If you find yourself feeling low around the Christmas holidays why not try some of the following tips?
• Set price limits on presents so you don’t feel pressured to go overboard
• Remember that films, adverts and any other representations you see in the media of the ‘perfect’ Christmas are simply fantasy and it’s not the end of the world if things don’t go perfectly according to plan
• Try to be grateful for the things you do have in your life rather than the things you don’t have
• Start putting aside money a couple months before Christmas to reduce the financial burden
• If your depression becomes serious during this time or at any other time, please seek out the help of a qualified mental health professional
• If you are already struggling with depression, speak to a counsellor or your GP to get extra support.