Christmas blues, why do melancholy and anxiety increase at Christmas?

December 20, 2018

Called by the Americans “Christmas blues” to indicate a feeling of slight depression, perhaps more melancholy mixed with anxiety that clashes with the cheerful atmosphere of light and joy that is typically associated with the time of the Christmas holidays, it is a fairly widespread phenomenon that can affect both those who are already suffering from depression and anxiety, but can also occur in those who, for various reasons, can not get in tune with the “Christmas climate”. We all remember the Christmas campaigns that have partly shaped our image of Christmas as synonymous with joy, good feelings, generosity and family – explains Dr. Paolo Amami, neuropsychologist at the Humanitas hospital. – But coming out of the advertising and cinematic representation of Christmas, in reality Christmas does not always bring out feelings of joy that, if they are missing, and peeps out instead the “Christmas blues” with the load of feelings such as anxiety, sadness and melancholy, it almost seems to violate a golden rule.
The fact that the Christmas period can stimulate feelings of melancholy or the worsening of symptoms in people who already suffer from depression has been noted since the 30s by American psychologists who just in the period between the Christmas holidays when they noticed an exacerbation of symptoms and an increase in hospitalizations. Without going as far as clinical disorders, however, Christmas can certainly be a kind of buffer for six feelings of anxiety and melancholy. Some people may experience a feeling of inadequacy, a sort of guilt for not being able to be happy and enthusiastic, as the particular period would require. It is as if Christmas, in which everything is light, joy, joy and good feelings, creates a sort of imposition to be in a certain way, a situation that can become an anguish for those who can not adapt. In addition,

Christmas is also synonymous with family warmth and for those people who for various reasons do not have the opportunity to spend Christmas in the family, this can become a reason for further lack, inadequacy to the period, anxiety and melancholy. In particular, anxiety can be an emotion that “explodes” during the Christmas holidays due to the many commitments that follow one another in this period: organization of dinners, participation in events, the well-known “gifts stress“, or the obligation to have to meet people who actually do not have any desire to meet, are all elements that could contribute to the appearance of stress and frustration in those most predisposed with real states of anxiety from Christmas.

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