Anyone can experience depression during the holiday season. Factors like holiday stress, excess alcohol intake, loneliness, disappointment, and financial stress can lead to depression. Certain people may have seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of depression that tends to occur (and recur) as the days grow shorter in the fall and winter.
Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Symptoms include tiredness, fatigue, crying spells and mood swings, irritability, trouble concentrating, body aches, loss of sex drive, insomnia, decreased activity level, and overeating with associated weight gain.
Tips to Help Manage Holiday Depression
- Acknowledge your feelings. If someone close to you has recently died or you can’t be with loved ones, realize that it’s normal to experience sadness and grief.
- Spend time with family and friends. If that’s not possible, seek out community, religious or other social events for support and companionship.
- Appreciate the good things you now have instead of focusing on what you don’t have.
- Volunteer your time to help others. This can help you lift your spirit, broaden your friendships, and feel less isolated.
- Regular exercise can help reduce depression, boost self-esteem, and improve sleep.
- Limit your consumption of alcohol to help lessen your feelings of depression.
- Counseling and support groups can be beneficial since they allow individuals to share their feelings and experience in a judgment-free environment.
- For people with SAD, regular exposure to bright light and antidepressant medications are effective treatment methods.
- Talk to your doctor or a mental health professional if you need medical help.