Holiday Depression, Anxiety, and Stress

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Understanding Depression Slideshow

Symptoms of Anxiety

Anxiety is a feeling of apprehension and fear characterized by physical symptoms such as:

  • Heart palpitations
  • Sweating
  • Irritability
  • Feelings of stress

Quick GuideHoliday Travel Pictures Slideshow: 7 Tips to Make It Less Stressful

Holiday Travel Pictures Slideshow: 7 Tips to Make It Less Stressful

Holiday depression, anxiety, and stress facts

  • A number of factors, including unrealistic expectations, financial pressures, and too many commitments can cause stress and anxiety at holiday time.
  • Certain people may feel anxious or depressed around the winter holidays due to seasonal affective disorder (SAD), sometimes referred to as seasonal depression.
  • Headaches, excessive drinking, overeating, and insomnia are some of the possible consequences of poorly managed holiday stress.
  • Those suffering from any type of holiday anxiety, depression, or stress can benefit from increased social support during this time of year. Counseling or support groups can also be beneficial.
  • In addition to being an important step in preventing the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder, regular exposure to light that is bright, particularly fluorescent lights, significantly improves depression in people with SAD during the fall and winter.
  • Setting realistic goals and expectations, reaching out to friends, sharing tasks with family members, finding inexpensive ways to enjoy yourself, and helping others are all ways to help beat holiday stress.

The winter holiday season, including Christmas, Hanukkah, and Thanksgiving, for most people is a fun time of the year filled with parties, celebrations, and social gatherings with family and friends. But for many people, it is a time filled with sadness, self-reflection, loneliness, and anxiety.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/4/2014
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  • Holiday Depression and Stress - Symptoms

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  • Holiday Depression and Stress - Treatment and Coping

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  • Holiday Depression and Stress - Prevention

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  • Holiday Depression and Stress - Causes and Triggers

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