When the Holidays Hurt

When everything is supposed to be merry and bright it is hard to remember that for some people the holidays can bring pain.

When everything is supposed to be merry and bright it is hard to remember that for some people the holidays can bring pain. From trauma to stress sometimes the holidays hurt.

When the Holidays Hurt

Why the Holidays Hurt

Grief: It may be difficult from some as they remember those they have lost. Especially if that person is associated with holiday traditions. (Read More about Grief)

Financial Hardship: The pressure to give many expensive gifts can be difficult for individuals with limited means. This can increase feelings of anxiety and inadequacy as individuals either spend past limits or fail to give as expected.

Stress: There is increased pressure during the holidays from extra shopping to extra social engagements. Just passing a mall in the month of December can be a test in patience.

Family Conflict: let’s face it not all families get along. For some, there may be added anxiety as they feel forced to spend time with members they have a conflict with. Others may find themselves estranged from family increasing loneliness.

Past Trauma: First it is important to remember that bad things can just as easily happen during the holidays as any other part of the year. It is also true that as stress and anxiety rise the potential for certain negative things, such as abuse, can also rise.

Signs Someone is Having a Hard Time

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Problems Sleeping
  • Isolation
  • Acting Out

Ways You Can Help

If you know someone who is struggling with the holidays there are some things you can do to help:

  • It is important to be understanding and patient. These individuals may not be willing or able to explain why they are hurting. Sometimes just showing support can help.
  • If this individual chooses to open up remember they are sharing something very personal and it may be very difficult. It’s not important to say the perfect thing, but it is important to be willing to listen and listen without judgment.
  • Those experiencing a crisis or are at risk of self-harm are advised to contact a crisis line provided or seek help from mental health services.

Crisis Resources:

If someone you or someone you know is experiencing thoughts of suicide there is help.

The Access & Crisis Line: 888-724-7240

California Coalition for Youth Crisis Line: 1-800-843-5200

National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

9 thoughts on “When the Holidays Hurt

  1. It’s a great article and a must read as festival time is coming and not everyone get along well with the family members, we must try to be patient and kind. Thanks for sharing.


    1. I’m putting out a post on managing holiday stress in about a week and a half you should check out. I should do something on new years as well….I never really thought about the stress that also causes.


  2. Great post and I hope it will help help many people during the festive season. I had a hard time with Christmas in my teenage years and it took me a while to understand why I was hating it so much. Now I’m an adult with my own home, I can Christmas the way I like!



  3. Thank you so much for posting this. I want to be excited about the holidays this year, but I’m dealing with a lot of past trauma, and it’s making it hard to be very happy about seeing my family and whatnot. So thank you.


  4. My biggest dislike with the holidays is the shops. When you can’t do a normal shop because its chaotic is stressful and gets claustrophobic!

    Thank you for sharing.


  5. A timely and thoughtful article, and this year particular because of COVID, every one is under lot of stress. The way you have mentioned to see the signs and what to do about are really easy to follow. Thanks, for sharing a simple and helpful post.


  6. This is such a great guide, thanks so much for sharing ❤ I think it's really important that you brought up the pressure involved with the holidays, whether that's pressure to be social or give gifts when you can't really afford it. I've found that's the hardest part of the holidays for me and I appreciate your tips on what to do to deal with it.


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