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Post-Holiday Depression: Why Are You Feeling So Low After the Best Time of Year?

By Rheyanne Weaver HERWriter
 
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Though some people dread having to see their family around the winter holidays and don't enjoy Christmas shopping and the colder weather, others feel more depressed after the holidays are over, since they have to go back to the same routine, among other haunting realities. This is known as post-holiday depression. This can start after Christmas or similar holidays and/or after New Year's Day, depending on when a person celebrates.

According to an article on www.psychcentral.com, the possible causes of post-holiday depression are "unmet expectations, unrealistic resolutions, and a return of loneliness and guilt about overindulgence." For example, perhaps someone trys to give all her friends and family members gifts

and fails. Maybe a different person overspends and purchases gifts for everyone and is now in debt. Another person might try to lose 10 pounds after Christmas but just can't get motivated. Yet another might return to another state, away from family members. These all can happen and don't feel very uplifting, which can lead to depression in some people.

The author of the article suggested that people treat the holidays no differently than any other time of the year. Just because it's Christmas, Hanukkah or another holiday, it doesn't mean everyone has to pretend to be happy when they're not. That can be depressing by itself.

Post-holiday depression generally only lasts for a short period of time. If the depression lasts longer, it can be classified as a more "serious" type of depression, though all types of depression should be regarded with care. According to an article on Suite 101, post-holiday depression is considered more of a mental distress than a mental disorder, since it's so fleeting and makes a minimal impact for the most part on the person who has it.

The idea that post-holiday depression is short-lived can be found in an article from www.PennLive.com. The article compares seasonal affective disorder to post-holiday depression, saying that "SAD isn’t the post-holiday blues people tend to get in January or the cabin fever resulting
from being indoors for too long on shorter days and in inclement weather."

Add a Comment5 Comments

EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Thanks

September 11, 2012 - 9:59am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

According to an article on Suite 101, post-holiday depression is considered more of a mental distress than a mental disorder, since it's so fleeting and makes a minimal impact for the most part on the person who has it.

August 26, 2012 - 2:47am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Maybe a different person overspends and purchases gifts for everyone and is now in debt. Another person might try to lose 10 pounds after Christmas but just can't get motivated. Yet another might return to another state, away from family members. These all can happen and don't feel very uplifting, which can lead to depression in some people.

August 25, 2012 - 9:56am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Post-holiday depression generally only lasts for a short period of time. If the depression lasts longer, it can be classified as a more "serious" type of depression, though all types of depression should be regarded with care. According to an article on Suite 101, post-holiday depression is considered more of a mental distress than a mental disorder, since it's so fleeting and makes a minimal impact for the most part on the person who has it.

August 25, 2012 - 8:39am
Dr. Daniel Heller

OK, I realize this is an old article, and it's not really post-holiday season anymore. But I have to comment: for every person that thinks the holidays are the best time of year, there is someone who finds forced gaiety, holiday decorations in the drug store, and spending time with relatives NOT the best time of year.
As to why someone might feel depressed after the holidays: maybe they didn't enjoy them in the first place, and that was depressing; maybe it's the darkest, coldest time of the year.
I feel bad when I see that someone has said the holidays are the best time of year, because so many people - and, possibly, particularly those with depression - don't feel this way. And every time someone says it's the best time of the year, it's like pouring salt on a wound.
So, it's March, it's been a warm winter, and I hope you're not feeling badly at all. If you are struggling with depression, here are some hints that might help, particularly if that depression is of the PMS & PMDD variety: http://www.pmscomfort.com/pms-pmdd-symptoms/pms-pmdd-depression.aspx

Dr. Daniel Heller
PMS Comfort

March 5, 2012 - 11:06pm
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