What makes you feel most depressed about Christmas

Black mood instead of white Christmas? We have ideas for happier holidays!

Just in time for the first Advent, reality is not very reflective for many. It is characterized by Christmas stress, such as trying to make a gift list - and every time there is a lack of concentration. Or the impulse to answer “nothing at all” when asked what you want for Christmas. After all, you feel guilty because you haven't gotten all the presents yourself.

And after the expensive and stressful Christmas shopping there is no rest. On the contrary: many of the particularly stressful emotions are only released during the actual festival. Where open or covert family conflicts have been fermenting for years, problems are sung under the Christmas tree. Oh, you merry ... So it's hardly surprising that, according to a survey, almost one in two of us is looking forward to having Christmas behind us.

Most of us know the normal Christmas stress. It is annoying, but does not necessarily affect our psychological well-being, as we are usually able to reduce the stress again. How robust we are against Christmas stress differs from person to person. Everyone has their own personal stress threshold. And where this threshold is rather low or where mental health is already hit, the suffering at Christmas can be particularly great. It is not uncommon for the stress to be accompanied by inner pressure and feelings of guilt: "Everyone else is doing so well, everyone is happy and contemplative, only I hang back and ruin the party for others with my gray mood," says the feeling of guilt. In the worst-case scenario, the Christmas season exacerbates or even causes the characteristics of depression.

Social stress can have a massive impact on our mental health. Depressive symptoms such as joylessness, lack of sleep or lack of drive can become noticeable in people who have a higher risk of mental illness due to a low stress threshold. We are particularly burdened by conflicts within the family, which often break out or recur at Christmas.

“Conflicts paired with a difficult relationship with one's own father or sister, for example, place a much greater burden on us than with people who are not so close to us, such as colleagues or friends. Relationships with close family members can be very emotional and complex. For many, the Christmas days with the family are a great stress factor and often lead us to our emotional limits, ”says psychotherapist Prof. Dr. Harriet Salbach.

Fortunately, we are not at the mercy of the Christmas stress. You can become active yourself and literally prepare yourself “mentally” for it when you notice that Christmas is too much mental stress and arouses bad emotions. For example with these three pieces of advice and appropriate exercises.

# 1: Are you dreading the sayings of the hunchbacked relatives? Then strengthen your self worth

Insanely funny comments on hip gold or waist circumference. Worrying questions about complicated relationship status. Or sentences like “Oh, another internship?” Accompanied by a frown. Does everything sound familiar to you? Then you should strengthen your self-worth before Christmas - for example by reflecting on your strengths.

A healthy self-worth is always based on several pillars. In psychology, the so-called four-pillar model was developed to determine the difference between low and high self-esteem. Mark Goering, Moodpath founder and clinical psychologist, introduces you to the pillars that make up your self-worth in this explanatory video.

# 2: do something good for yourself with self-care

If the Christmas lows persist and you're feeling really bad, cheer yourself up. In this case, self-care is the best medicine. Self-care means that you take full care of yourself and your needs and take good care of them.

# 3: Give yourself a break - at your imaginary feel-good place

“Just get away from here” - the Christmas escape reflex sounds familiar to you? Then follow him calmly, at least mentally and for a short time. You can use your imagination to design a feel-good place according to your ideas. The annoying and exhausting Christmas guests are suddenly very far away and of course have no access. By the way, your place of well-being also helps very well with deep relaxation after the holidays. Learn in this audio exercise how you can design and travel to the place of well-being:

Would you like to try more psychological exercises? Our Moodpath app provides you with over 100 other exercises. Would you like to try the app now?

Here you can find Moodpath in the Google Play Store (Android).

Click on this link and download Moodpath from the App Store (iOS).