People who feel melancholic during the holiday season usually have these 5 character traits

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The holiday season can bring with it a whole load of extra pressure.

It’s a time of the year when we feel like we have to be happy and celebrating.

The problem is, that our emotions aren’t something we can simply turn on and off.

All that festive cheer can make us feel pretty miserable and lead to the holiday blues.

People who feel melancholic during the holiday season usually have the following character traits.

1) They’re introverts

Of course, that’s not to say that extroverts don’t also have difficulties with mental health. But introverts can suffer more in several ways over the holiday season.

For starters, it’s a time for parties and gatherings. For those of us with introverted tendencies, that can quickly become overwhelming.

You might prefer a quiet night in to recharge your batteries, but you don’t want to look anti-social.

Introverts can feel the burden of socializing all year round, but there may be more expectations put on them around the holidays.

There is more pressure to be with family and friends. In your mind, it may seem less acceptable to turn down invitations.

Some studies have suggested that introverts are also more prone to depression and anxiety in general. So this could be intensified during the holidays.

Part of that is down to the next thing on our list. Because melancholic people often have greater sensitivity when it comes to feelings and emotions.

2) They’re sensitive

Anyone who is a highly sensitive person will tell you:

It can be a blessing and a curse.

On the one hand, it gives you a richness and depth to your emotions which is very valuable.

This helps you to be more tuned in to yourself and others.

It can give you bags of emotional awareness, make you more creative, mean you are more thoughtful, and sharpen your intuition.

But on the flip side, feeling things so deeply takes its toll.

The festive season brings with it heightened emotions all around us.

If you are prone to absorbing emotions and highly adapt to picking up on them, it’s a lot to deal with.

We may be thrown together in tense family situations or with people we’d rather not spend our time with. This tests our nerves and understandably freys them too.

For sensitive people, the holidays can mean a lot of emotional energy flying around.

3) They’re reflective

As a deep thinker myself, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

For sure it provides deep insights that enrich my life in many ways. But it’s a quality that can turn against you too.

Sometimes it is hard to switch off, and when that happens we can spiral into overthinking.

Melancholic people are often introspective and thoughtful, which can be intensified during the holiday season. 

It marks the end of one year and the start of another.

This can prompt us all to spend a significant amount of time reflecting on past experiences and memories.

That may well trigger a sense of nostalgia or longing for times gone by. It could leave us feeling unsatisfied at another year “passing us by”.

Particularly if you have the next trait on our list, you may judge yourself far too harshly.

4) They’re perfectionists

I think even if you’re not a perfectionist, Christmas and New Year bring an overly idealized energy with them.

There tends to be a huge build-up to the festive season.

There’s lots of planning and organizing. There may be a mad dash to get everything “just right”.

But whenever we have unrealistically high expectations of ourselves and others, we usually set ourselves up for disappointment.

We watch cheesy movies with feel-good messages and crave that in our own lives. We want the romanticized version of the holiday season.

So when that holiday magic falls short, we can feel pretty sad about it.

It leaves you feeling flat because there’s a distinct disconnect between the image we have in our head and reality.

This time of year fails to live up to the hype of how we think it should be.

It’s often made worse when we wonder if it’s just us who is experiencing this.

We look around and compare ourselves to everyone else’s highlights reel, and are left feeling wanting.

5) They’re empathetic

You could be living a charmed life right now and still be feeling very sad for the world around you.

Who could fail to be struck by the sad events taking place across the globe?

It’s hard to gloss over other people’s challenges when we are faced with wars, conflict, and poverty.

Those with empathy for others don’t live in an isolated bubble of joy. They have a deep understanding and compassion for the struggles other people are tackling.

This can become overwhelming during a time when societal expectations of happiness and joy are at their peak.

We are meant to go around with a smile on our faces, yet the contrast between those who have and those who don’t becomes even more obvious.

Your heightened empathy can quite easily contribute to feelings of sadness or even guilt. It doesn’t seem fair to be celebrating when others are going through hell.

You don’t have to plaster on a smile

If you are already dealing with mental health problems, then the holiday season can make it even worse. But even if you’re not, melancholy can strike any of us around this time.

Quite frankly it’s a stressful time, often made worse by the pressure we pile on to ourselves.

If you are feeling down, it’s important not to chastise yourself or make yourself wrong for this.

You don’t have to fake it. In fact, as we’ll see next, embracing it can help you far more.

Allow yourself to feel whatever you feel

Denial is never good for our emotions. It keeps us stuck and makes us feel even worse.

You only burden yourself with extra guilt or disappointment when you think you shouldn’t feel the way you feel.

Whilst we cannot always control the way we feel, we can express it.

According to research, simply naming our feelings can help us to process them better.   

Admit it to yourself, journal about what you’re experiencing, and talk to others about it.

How ever you choose to do it, giving yourself a voice has real therapeutic value.

Don’t compare yourself

Scroll through social media and you’ll quickly be confronted with glossy images of happy families or festive parties.

But don’t be fooled.

It’s so easy to get sucked into the lie that everyone else is having a better time than you. Yet we know deep down that people only show the best bits.

Rest assured there are lots of people out there who are not having the time of their lives.

But either way, it’s always a red herring to focus on what other people might be feeling, thinking, or doing. It’s better to bring your attention back to yourself.

If that means staying clear of social media for a while, or only following people who keep it real — so be it!

Make time and space for you

Self-care shouldn’t stop around the holidays.

I know for plenty of people it’s an even busier time, so it may not feel like a priority.

The idea may even sound like a laughable luxury. But the truth is it’s usually needed more during the festive season.

It’s okay to sneak off for some me-time when the family comes over. It’s okay to skip that party because you’re not in the mood.

A long time ago, I stopped going out for New Year’s because I quite frankly didn’t enjoy it. I always find it over-hyped and a lot of effort. I much prefer an early night. Who cares if I miss midnight?!

The point is — you do you.

It’s okay to make choices that feel best for you, it doesn’t matter what other people are doing. Do the things that best take care of your mental health.

Try not to pile on the pressure

Let’s face it, this time of year brings so many extra pressures.

That includes:

  • The financial pressure to spend money you don’t have
  • The social pressure to spend time with people you may not want to or the feeling of isolation if you aren’t surrounded by people
  • The energetic pressure to keep on going when you may be tired
  • The emotional pressure to be in a good mood when you’re just not feeling it
  • The bodily pressure from excessive food and drink

Is it any wonder that can take its toll?

There’s no shortcut to unburdening ourselves of all this. But simple awareness can start to lighten the load.

Rather than buying into unrealistic expectations, try to embrace the imperfections of life.

We can’t have it all, we can’t do it all — that goes for the festive season just as much as it does any other time of the year.

Focus on what you can control, not what you can’t

Mindfulness is always a useful stress relief to tackle melancholy.

It can help us stay in the present and stop the mind wandering to darker places where rumination or overthinking can creep in.

Rather than get lost in wishing things were different, look for small actions that you can take in the “now” to make you feel better.

For example:

  • If you know drink is a trigger for you, go easy on the booze
  • If you know exercise makes you feel better, be sure to make time for it
  • If you’re feeling cut off, reach out to someone
  • If you often overcommit, make an extra effort to say “no” to some requests

The holiday blues are more common than you may think

It’s important to bust the myth that holidays should be joyous times of the year.

Life doesn’t work like that.

But understanding some of the things that contribute to feeling melancholic around the holidays can make us better equipped to ride it out.

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Ava Sinclair

Ava Sinclair is a former competitive athlete who transitioned into the world of wellness and mindfulness. Her journey through the highs and lows of competitive sports has given her a unique perspective on resilience and mental toughness. Ava’s writing reflects her belief in the power of small, daily habits to create lasting change.

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