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Why the New Year Can Bring Mixed Feelings

Teen girl with struggling with mixed feelings about New Year

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It can be hard to admit to yourself that New Year’s Eve is not one of your favorite holidays to celebrate. It is supposed to be a time of extravagant parties, cheerful celebrations, a time for reflection, and setting goals for the new year, yet your emotions don’t match the festivities. 

While the end of the year can be exciting, hopeful, and energizing for some people, it can also bring feelings of regret, isolation, and fear for others. ​​It’s a well-known and researched fact that the holiday season can worsen or trigger mental health symptoms. If you have been diagnosed with depression, this time of year can make your symptoms worse, but even people without diagnosed mental illness are vulnerable. 

Some reasons for an influx in symptoms of depression can be caused by stress associated with buying gifts, making big dinners, and attending parties. High expectations of what New Year’s should be or feel like can also trigger negative feelings and a sense of being overwhelmed which can cause mental exhaustion. Grief can be amplified during this time of year, especially if you have lost someone or something close to the end of the year. Cold weather, shorter days, and less sunlight can trigger seasonal depression. 

While the New Year can seem incredibly heavy and mentally taxing, there are strategies you can implement to relieve some of these feelings. 

Reflect on your accomplishments, not those of others.

Reflection can be a helpful tool if it is used correctly. Making a list of all you have achieved, no matter how big or small, can create a sense of accomplishment and hope during this time of year! Life is not a competition. Focus on yourself, your goals, and the person you want to be. 

Start a new tradition.

New Year’s Eve does not have to be a night full of parties, expensive outfits, and celebrations that can feel endless. It can be powerful to let go of expectations of what New Year’s Eve should be like and create your own! This can look like spending the day in nature, watching movies with your family or by yourself, spending time with friends, or engaging in activities that bring you joy such as art, music, and exercise!

Reach out to others.

While it can be tempting to deal with negative emotions by yourself and physically isolate yourself from others, reaching out to your loved ones can provide the support you need to get through the end of the year.Social isolation only worsens depression. A strong support network is a useful tool in managing depression any time of year. If New Year’s makes you feel lonely, reach out and talk to someone you trust. 

Ask a friend or family member to spend a quiet New Year’s Eve with you. Additionally, connecting with a mental health professional during this time of year can make things much easier. If you have a therapist, call to schedule more sessions or to engage with treatment again if you stopped. 

Closing Thoughts

Mixed feelings about ending the current year and beginning a new one is a real phenomenon that affects many people. While it is a researched fact that the holiday season can worsen or trigger mental health symptoms, there are things you can do to relieve some of your symptoms and prevent them from worsening. 

Reach out to friends and family, make new traditions, reflect in positive ways, and get treatment if you need it. A Brighter Day has partnered with BetterHelp to provide access to free treatment. Email us at to be connected to complementary resources. 




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