For many, Christmas and New Year are anticipated with fascination. Society and seasonal melodies say we should be cheerful, celebrating, and cooking perfect – and * huge – meals. Truthfully, even with the stress of planning and gift buying, many consider it to be a happy time.
But many don’t. The holidays can be melancholy, * the days or weeks after the holidays. One 2019 UK survey found just over 30% of British people felt anxious or stressed as the holidays approached, and even more worried about the mental health of someone they knew. Holiday depression and anxiety were found to be * associated with e.g. unemployment, divorce, widowhood, and even being parents with small children at home (Mental Health).
The pandemic * has not helped the situation. Lockdowns (in some EU countries) led to Christmas burnout, financial stress, social anxiety, and physical and mental exhaustion (Amberley Davis) by the time the holidays arrived, and afterward. Moreover, no snow due to global warming and the inability to make a snowman or throw snowballs furthered sadness.
With media images often include a loud-and-laughing houseful of the family as part of a “Merry Christmas”, it is no wonder that many feel * lonely around the holidays, * if they have lost a loved one.
A few forum comments paint the picture:
“I hate every second of Christmas”
“Christmas used to be my favorite time of the year and yeah, on Christmas day in the evening I would get a bit sad. However, now I’m starting to dislike Christmas more and more. It’s getting frustrating and my in-laws are a nightmare to deal with. I spend Christmas depressed since my side of the family basically doesn’t exist anymore…” (Free Care & Therapy).
These are commonly called the “holiday blues” and are far from unusual [Ibid].
Then comes the “post-holiday blues” – the slump after the season ends. Experts attribute it to stress hormones leaving the body, with the body and psyche struggling to get back to routine (Libby MacCarthy). As a few forum comments describe the feeling:
“I start to feel it after I finish taking down the lights and decorations on the 2nd of January and take a look around at the bare walls and fixtures that once were brimming with color and life. But then I get used to that bare feeling after a couple of days”.
“Christmas Day marks the end of Christmas, so it makes sense to be sad. Christmas is more the season than the day so I try to enjoy it most in the run-up to today”.
“Christmas evening is always depressing. The next week is the worst week of the year”.
For those living in northern climates, there is additionally seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a clinical depression caused by shorter days, less sunlight and vitamin D, more melatonin, and less serotonin. All these factors together can result in a holiday season that can, for some, be * a season of:
Fortunately, there is self-help and professional help. Tips suggested by Lancer can improve your state:
INSTRUCTIONS: Replace the 12 asterisks (*) in the text with the most suitable language intensifier from the table below (there are 3 extra words). Then read your text again to see how the text became more expressive and emotional.