How to Avoid 3 Common Triggers of Depression at Christmas


Once again, the holiday season is approaching. The stores are busy. The parking lots full. Our mailboxes are stuffed with Cards and letters detailing days filled with happiness over the past year and wishing us all well for the upcoming one.

As you drive down the streets, you can see your neighbor’s lights twinkle outside and their Christmas trees shine bright through their windows. Calendars are filled with holiday events. The Christmas parties, holiday concerts, family holiday traditions and tree lighting ceremonies. Music offering hope, peace and joy fills the radio waves. All of the favorite Christmas holiday shows play on TV. Snowmen, reindeer, and favorite cartoon characters (Snoopy, anyone?) Everywhere we look, holiday cheer abounds.

But not everyone experiences the joy of the holidays during this time of year. For many, the holidays bring loneliness and sadness, even depression. Holiday depression increases over the holidays for several reasons.

We can avoid some common triggers.

How to Avoid 3 Common Triggers to Depression during the Holidays

1. How unmet expectations trigger depression.

As the holidays approach, so do expectations: our expectations of others, our expectations of ourselves, and others’ expectations of us. Expectations present a problem because they leave room for so much disappointment. It’s impossible to live up to them! When we don’t, we feel negativity and defeat. We can do something about it! One way to combat depression during the holidays is to release the expectations we have for others and for ourselves. To avoid this trigger, we can change our perspective by taking things as they come and enjoying the experience rather than wishing for a different outcome. This changes our perspective from the negative (focusing on what didn’t happen the way we wanted or expected) to the positive (focusing on the positive of what occurred).

2. How a faulty perspective can trigger depression.

We consider the holidays a time of love and good will towards men. Christmas is a season of giving. Yet, the commercialism of the holidays tends to perpetuate a faulty perspective with an unhealthy focus on ourselves. On what we have, what we want, and what we get. This year, if you’re feeling down during the holidays, be gentle and extend grace. Release yourself from the tyranny of commercialism’s message. Instead seek who you can bless by your words, your time, and your presence. When you encourage others, you will likely be encouraged yourself.

3. How comparison triggers depression.

During the holidays, our tendency to compare who we are, what we do, and what we have with all those around us is heightened. We tend to compare our messy insides with their polished outsides. We’ll never measure up! Part of the problem with comparison is that you’ll always find others who have more, do more, and achieve more than you. The opposite is also true. You can always find others who have less, do less, and achieve less than you. Avoid this trigger during the holidays and combat depression, by seeking out those who are less fortunate than you. Serve them. Give to them. Love on them. When you give to others, your perspective about your own lack changes and you replenish your well-spring of joy.

There are other contributors to depression, but by avoiding these three, we can pro-actively change our emotional experience during the holidays.

As we “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things” as we are encouraged to do in Colossians 3:2, we have the mind of Christ instead of a mindset prone to depression.


For a Free eBook on How to Help a Depressed Loved One, click here: How to Help a Depressed Loved One eBook.

For more helpful information about what you need to know when you have a depressed loved one, read here:

For more about what not to say to a depressed loved one, read here: while here are suggestions about supportive things you can say to a depressed loved one:

To learn more about “Hope Prevails: Insights From a Doctor’s Personal Journey Through Depression,” Dr. Bengtson’s book, see:

And, for the Bible Study, see:

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