Holiday Depression: The Facts for Parents and Teens

Graphic of a Sad Young Woman

The holidays are usually a joyful time of the year, full of festivities, food, family. For some, though, the holidays can be a time of struggle. Depression and sadness are prevalent any time of year, but it can be especially worse during the holidays. Whether you’re a teen who is struggling during the holidays, or a concerned parent wanting to help, there are steps you can take to help with holiday depression.

Parents

As a parent, it can be heartbreaking to see your child feeling down. It is essential to accept how they are feeling and adapt to their moods. You should regularly let your teen know that you love them, that they are not alone, and that you are there to help, whenever they need it. Do what is needed for your teen, but do not expect to cheer them up. It is parental instinct to do what is best for your teen, but trying to cheer them up can be overbearing, which can make the situation worse for the both of you. Just being there for your teen is one of the best things you can do to help them through this challenging time.

As for the holiday itself, it may be helpful to take the focus off yourself or your teen. It might help to have a plan to get through the day. Consider taking a short vacation, volunteering, or visiting other loved ones. Putting the focus on others may help you or your teen feel better on this difficult day.

Youth

The most important thing to remember when dealing with holiday depression is to acknowledge how you’re feeling and know that you’re not alone. It’s okay that you are feeling sad when it seems that everyone else is embracing the joy that is associated with the holidays. Many others feel the same way, even if they don’t show it. If you are feeling down during the holiday season, there are a few things that might help:

  1. Reach out: Talking to a loved one, a therapist, or a support group online can help you or your teen get all those feelings off their chest.
  2. Make time for yourself: A little bit of self-care never hurt anybody. Give yourself some time to do whatever you need to do to stay calm and focused. It is easy to get overwhelmed this time of year, so make sure to schedule some time for yourself.
  3. Be realistic: Movies and television can often put the idea in our heads that everything must be perfect around this time of year. It is important to acknowledge that you do not have to keep up with this3 ideation- whatever you have and can do is perfect.
  4. See the light: Holiday depression can be influenced by seasonal affective disorder. Try going outside to increase your exposure to sunlight.

Holiday depression is a serious topic, and it is important to acknowledge it. If you or your child are going through a hard time during the holiday season, do not be afraid to reach out to those who can help. Take care of yourself and have a wonderful holiday season!

Contributed by Trinity Brown