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Tidings of Comfort and a Little Less Joy: The Impact of The Holiday Season on Mental Health

In the western world, the idea of the Christmas season may conjure up feelings of warmth and comfort - a time when the idea of family and closeness amongst your communities feels stronger than ever. Whilst this may be true, the spirit in the air is not as positively festive for everyone, with many individuals suffering from mental health issues, finding this to be a particularly challenging time.

Why does Christmas worsen my mental health?

In recent years, the number of people diagnosed with and experiencing bouts of depression has skyrocketed worldwide. The societal expectation for everyone to be happy and upbeat is at its yearly peak during this period and so, individuals who do not meet these standards may feel inadequate and consequently, worsen their mental health. Furthermore, this season is all about meeting up with loved ones, a task made increasingly difficult for people who wish to withdraw from those around them when they aren’t feeling their greatest. Seasonal Affective Disorder is also prevalent, with the lack of sunlight impacting many people’s psyches negatively.

Anxiety over the Holidays

Like depression sufferers, people who struggle with anxious thoughts and anxiety disorders may find everything about this time of the year to be stressful and overwhelming. Having to interact with more people, noise, and light all around, and the overall Christmas chaos can, understandably, impact an anxious person considerably. Panic attacks have also been observed to become more frequent during this period, whilst intrusive thoughts may become more persistent in people with generalised anxiety. Christmas time can also be a very expensive time of year, with people who struggle financially reporting feeling anxious as a result.

Being Lonely at Christmas

The ubiquitous expectation for everyone to be out and about and have a merry time may strengthen feelings of melancholy and loneliness. Even if surrounded by people, individuals may still feel unfulfilled. If you are experiencing unusually intense feelings of loneliness, try to address them by speaking to a loved one or seeking out professional help.

How can I feel better during Christmas time?

Thankfully, there are some solutions to negative feelings surrounding the holiday period.

  1. Firstly, try to limit comparing yourself to others and remember that social media is not reality.

  2. Recognise that strained family relationships do not magically amend themselves during this time and it’s all right to not want to interact with people.

  3. Try to engage yourself in your community by using the time to volunteer with local projects and give a helping hand.

  4. Practise self-care rituals and use the time to wind down and carry out activities that make you feel good.

If all the above does not improve your state of mind, seek out professional help. Start by making sure your health is in check and that there is no underlying physical cause for your feelings.

At Clinipath, we can provide comprehensive blood work for effective diagnosis to ensure that you can maintain your quality of life.

If you would like information contact us today on +356 21221355, 9985 2404 or send an email on for more information.

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