Why Do I Feel So Bummed Around the Holidays? A Psychologist Explains



During this ever-festive time of year, I often find myself mourning the way I experienced it as a child: the feverish anticipation as I counted down the days to Christmas, the flour that perpetually dusted our kitchen during the month of December, the sparkle of New Year's Eve. I still love the holidays, but that visceral, all-consuming joy has been muted somewhat by the realities of adulthood. If anything, I find myself feeling more anxious this time of year—and the struggle to recapture that sense of wonder doesn't exactly help.

I'm not alone in facing the holiday blues. "Psychotherapists work a lot this time of year," says Heather Silvestri, a New York–based psychologist. "In addition to any seasonal affective changes that December ushers in, the holiday season can cue people's anxiety and sadness in a pretty intense way."