Christmas is celebrated as the happiest time of the year, although having feelings of loneliness and depression during the holidays is more common than you might think. Being depressed at Christmas, when everyone around you appears to be doing so well not only highlights perceived differences between their lives and yours, it can make you feel guilty for not being happier.
The facts: Christmas depression statistics
With Christmas having such a focus on togetherness, it can highlight and heighten any feelings of
loneliness and isolation a person might have.
Only 28% of depressed people seek help from a professional, many not realising that their fatigue,
irritability or lack of enthusiasm is actually depression. As many people – including mental health
practitioners – take annual leave around Christmas, it can be even harder for people dealing with
Christmas or holiday depression to find someone to talk to when they really need it.
Why is Christmas depressing for some?
Self-reflection and perceived inadequacies
Being at the end of the year, Christmas can cause us to focus on all the things we planned to achieve,
but never did.
Pressure to spend
Christmas is supposed to be a time of giving, but when you don’t have a lot of money, this can feel like
more of an obligation than anything else. This creates stress, which can trigger depression.
Expectations of family social gatherings
Being away from your loved ones during the holiday season can be incredibly isolating, especially
when bombarded with friends’ social media updates about how their families are celebrating.
Loss of loved ones
Even when many years have passed, we still find the loss of a loved one particularly painful on
birthdays, anniversaries and holidays like Christmas. When grieving a loss, Christmas can feel more
like a cruel reminder of what can never be.
What should you do if you’re experiencing Christmas holiday depression?
Remember that it’s common to feel depressed and stressed in the holiday season. If you’re already
feeling anxious about Christmas, plan ahead to keep yourself from getting overwhelmed closer to the
It’s not wise to drink when depressed, as it may exacerbate your symptoms. If you do find the
Christmas period is causing you to feel depressed please reach out for help. If you are unable to
make an appointment with one of our psychologists then please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 if you
need someone to talk to.