(Un)Happy Holidays

For many, the year-end festive season (Christmas, New Year, Chinese New Year) marks a time of celebration and happiness. However, there are also those who experience “holiday blues” (i.e. feelings of sadness that last throughout the festive season) during this time.

We know that food and drink are big part of the festive celebration. It is no surprise to know that people tend to indulge more in food and alcohol during the festive celebration and this may cause problems to those who suffer from chronic diseases such as diabetes and cardiac diseases.

Tips for overcoming holiday blues

Triggers contributing to “Holiday Blues”

Stress from increased responsibilities, especially on women, who are usually the ones who have to plan and organise social gatherings e.g. arranging meetups, decorating the home and preparing meals.

Coping strategies

  • Set realistic expectations on how much you can manage
  • Seek help and share responsibilities if unable to cope on your own
  • Be selective and prioritise gatherings with people whom you value the most

During gatherings, it is common to encounter friends or family that we would rather not meet. Having to deal with these unpleasant people can be stressful.


Coping strategies

  • Be mindful about staying polite and respectful while conversing to avoid getting into any conflicts while conversing.
  • If a conversation is unavoidable, try getting someone else you know join in the conversation to ease tension

Festive season FOMO (fear of missing out) where we imagine everyone else is out celebrating with friends and family, having a fun and enjoyable time while we are just going about our usual routine. There can also be an increased sense of loneliness, especially for those who are dealing with issues of grief and bereavement.

Coping strategies

  • Proactively plan gatherings with friends, family or loved ones or other activities that you enjoy to keep yourself occupied.  
  • Seek support from friends, family or other loved ones to help reduce the sense of loneliness.
  • If you have been dealing with grief over a prolonged period of time, consider seeking professional help.

During the holidays, people tend to feel stressed due to having to rush to complete their work obligations so as to minimise disruptions to their festive celebrations as a result of outstanding work.

Coping strategies

  • Pace yourself and prioritise tasks that are more important or urgent.

Increased financial stress due to pressure of giving or spending a lot of money on gifts.

Coping strategies

  • Spend within your means. Consider gifting others with handmade cards or small gifts which may be more meaningful.  
Have Questions?


Dr Jaswyn Chin

Dr Jaswyn Chin

Lead Clinical Psychologist

View more posts by Dr Jaswyn Chin

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