Hate The Holidays? Here’s How to Cope 

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Or is it?

Despite what all the movies and retail industry want us to believe, the holiday season isn’t always filled with cheer. And if you hate the holidays, you’re not alone. The American Psychological Association reported that only 8% of people felt happier this time of year.

Many people find the holidays stressful, lonely, or depressing. But you can learn how to manage your feelings. Furthermore, if you want to enjoy the holidays more than usual, the following tips may help.

Why Do We Get So Stressed During the Holidays?

Many factors can impact how you feel about the holiday season. Some of these factors may be acute, whereas others can be more chronic.

Financial Stress

Buying gifts can feel overwhelming, and the season of giving can certainly wreak havoc on your budget. Moreover, you might also find yourself spending more on decorations, parties, and entertaining- all of which can strain your wallet.

Unrealistic Expectations

People often assume they should behave or feel a certain way about the holidays. For example, you might be wistful for a sense of a close-knit family, even if that image doesn’t quite match your reality. As a result, you may feel disappointed or resentful when things don’t go according to plan.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) can coincide with the holidays. SAD refers to a type of depression that occurs during a specific time of the year, such as winter. Common symptoms include losing interest in normal activities or routines, feeling depressed and apathetic, and experiencing profound appetite or sleep changes.

Routine Disruptions

Whether you take extra time off work, travel, or watch the kids during their prolonged break, schedule changes can affect your mental health. Even positive changes may make it challenging to prioritize your usual self-care and other essential wellness activities.


Grief can trigger many emotions during the holidays. Often, grief feels stronger this time of year, especially if you enjoyed certain rituals with your loved one. You may feel like you can’t recreate those happy memories, and you might feel frustrated if people attempt to distract you from your loss.

How To Manage When You Hate The Holidays

Even if you have identified some of your key stressors, it can be helpful to focus on how you can cope with them. While it’s reasonable to feel angry or sad, taking proactive steps may help you feel better.

Focus On Giving Back

Volunteering your time or focusing your efforts on others can have a profound impact on your mental health. Giving back can reinforce a sense of gratitude and create more appreciation for your life. It also may enhance your self-esteem, well-being, and connection to others.

Even small acts of service make a meaningful difference. Consider making a donation to a charity that is important or special to you. Or, offer to help a neighbor shovel their driveway or set up their Christmas decorations.

Say No

You don’t have to commit to every party, gift exchange, or holiday festivity. Overextending yourself will likely make you hate the holidays even more.

Remember that you are allowed to leave early, make appropriate modifications, or turn down requests that don’t serve in your best interest. Setting these boundaries– at home, work, and in your relationships- honors your well-being, and it limits the chance of you taking out your frustration on others.

Create New, Special Rituals

Maybe you hate the holidays because you dislike certain celebrations or routines associated with this time of year. Perhaps your family has always done something one way, even if you don’t particularly like it.

It can be helpful to focus on taking the initiative to create your own rituals. They don’t have to be extravagant or expertly planned. They just need to bring you a sense of joy or peace. It can be as simple as ordering takeout on Christmas Eve instead of pressuring yourself to cook a massive dinner for everyone.

Ground Yourself Often

Even with the best intentions, the holidays may still feel challenging. That’s reasonable, and self-compassion can make a significant difference in how you perceive yourself and others.

Try to remind yourself that things will pass. Remember that it’s okay if you don’t enjoy every moment.

Likewise, reach out to positive support, and commit to practicing even more self-care during this time. You may need to rely on keeping a consistent schedule- having that predictable routine can help you feel more empowered.

Final Thoughts

The holiday season may trigger a sense of dread, frustration, and animosity. But if you continue feeling stuck or hopeless, seeking professional support can help.

Therapy offers a safe and inviting space to explore these uncomfortable emotions. Together, we can navigate this season and develop healthy coping strategies for managing your stress. Contact me today to get started.

4601 Spicewood Springs Road Building 3, Suite 200
Austin, TX 78759

(512) 988-3363

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