Seasonal Depression - Preparation for the Holidays and the Upcoming New Year
Do you feel overcome with a sudden wave of sadness during the holidays? Don’t chalk it up to a case of mere holiday blues: you could be going through seasonal holiday stress and depression.
It’s natural for your mood to fluctuate as seasons pass - for example, some people find the colder weather very dreary and are likely to sulk as the temperature drops, whereas others tend to experience a change of mood during the long and hot summer days. The truth is that all of this is a part of being human - and for the most part, you can’t escape these perfectly normal shifts in your behavior.
However, when you are hit by feelings of depression during the holiday season, when everyone else around you is enthusiastically partaking in the festive spirit, you may feel overwhelmed and out of the loop with the world.
It’s time to stop worrying - here are a few tips will help you combat seasonal stress and depression so that you can enjoy the holiday season like you deserve to.
What are the Symptoms of Seasonal Holiday Depression? How do you tell that your feelings are not just "normal" sadness but symptoms of seasonal depression? Looking for the following stress responses may help:
1. Feeling sad, hopeless, and pessimistic every day (or nearly every day)
2. Losing interest in things you usually enjoy
3. Feeling lazy or having problems with your sleep routine
4. Changes in your appetite
5. Increased agitation and frustration towards people around you
6. Not being able to concentrate
Before we get into the ways you can deal with seasonal holiday stress and depression, let’s look at a few things that may trigger these feelings.
The triggers of seasonal depression during the holidays include, but are not limited to:
● Overworking to organize gatherings
● Financial stress
● Physical distance from loved ones
● Unrealistic expectations
● Emotional burnout
● Social exhaustion
Any of these can cause you to feel sad, which may lead to stress and depression that feel all-consuming. Even if others don’t seem to be bothered about the things that don’t sit well with you, you should know that your feelings are completely valid!
Here are a few tips that can help you cope with holiday depression:
● Be realistic: do not take more responsibilities than you can deal with.
● Don't feel pressured into communication and interacting if you don't want to.
● Spread your energy across different holidays instead of saving it for just one day, like Christmas/New Year's Eve.
● If you feel lonely, seek opportunities to help others.
● Don't drink too much.
● Indulge in self-care.
● Don't overspend.
● Establish a strong support network by reaching out to a trusted friend, family member or therapist.
● Remembering that it's okay to not feel okay!
Be kind to yourself and remind yourself that although you may be feeling down and out, it's only temporary. You're going to make it through the holidays and come out of it even stronger. You’ve Got This!