How to Cope with Negative Holiday Emotions

Happy Holidays Aren't Always So Happy

The holiday season is marketed as a time for joy, happiness, and family. Unfortunately, for some, the holiday season brings stress, depression, and unwanted guests. If you feel this way, you are not alone. Many individuals experience negative emotions during the holidays, but there are ways to cope healthily to maintain your mental well-being.

Here are 5 examples why the holidays may cause more dread than joy:
negative holiday emotions

1. Complicated relationship with family member: Being forced to spend time with someone you don't get along with is never a great time. If you have that one family member who is mean or a relative that makes you uncomfortable, it's understandable to feel uneasy during the holidays.

2. Alcohol: There is a lot of drinking during the holiday season. If you yourself have issues around alcohol, are in recovery, or have a family member who tends to overindulge, the holiday fun may be ruined.

3. Depression: People who have pre-existing mental health conditions may experience holiday depression. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), 64% of people with an existing mental illness report that the holidays make their condition worse.

4. Grieving the loss of a loved one: Losing a loved one is never easy. The holidays are often the hardest time due to memories of the past.

5. Financial issues: Whether it's a feast for a family or presents for children, the holidays can get expensive. Struggling with financial issues can cause a lot of stress around the holidays.

Holidays and families can often trigger anxiety, but there are ways to cope with these feelings.

Here are 7 ways to manage your stress, anxiety, and negative holiday emotions:
  1. The first step to helping yourself with these feelings is to identify what emotions you are experiencing.
  2. When these emotions start to feel overwhelming, take a minute to yourself to breathe and calm yourself down.
  3. Listen to what your emotions are telling you; take note of when and why these emotions happen to see if there's a pattern.
  4. Think about ways you can move forward with these feelings and to plan ahead.
  5. Instead of ignoring these feelings and letting them affect you for multiple days, pay attention to them and try to fix what problems may arise.
  6. Limit your alcohol intake during holiday season. Avoiding your feelings combined with alcohol can often make matters worse.
  7. Remember that you are not alone with these feelings, but put an end to them before it affects your overall health and happiness.

If you or a loved one is suffering from negative holiday emotions this season, clinicians in our Counseling & Wellness Centers are available to help.

Call our main number at 844-4-ACENDA (844-422-3632 X9500) for more information or to schedule an appointment.