Holiday Depression is No Joke
Fight Back Against Seasonal Depression
From Halloween, straight through to the New Year, the holidays bring extra pressure to prove yourself, spend an excessive amount of money, and act joyful no matter how you feel. Whether you feel sad, overwhelmed, or depressed, all of your feelings are valid and worthy of acknowledgment. Normal circumstances and agonizing nostalgia can make this time of year the hardest.
You don’t have to be overjoyed about the holidays like everyone around you seems to be. It can be frightening to face these emotions, especially if you’re afraid of letting someone down you care about, or even yourself. The first step is identifying the cause of your holiday depression and what is triggering this feeling. It could be one little thing or it can be more complex. Once you identify this you can choose to do something about it to help with coping during the season.
How do the holidays cause a spike in depression blues?
A combination of stress, sadness, and high expectations can lead to holiday depression. “According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, about 64 percent of people already coping with a mental illness report that it becomes exacerbated during the holiday season.” Coming to the end of another year can be a doozy depending on how wobbly the year was, and there is no foreseeing what the next one will bring. A mental health professional can help you unload and manage any difficult feelings you may be facing at this time of year.
Signs & Stress of Holiday Depression
Do you feel socially detached from the world, or even your family and friends? Isolation and feelings of being lonely during the holidays can intensify depressive symptoms and put you in a low mood. From financial stress to societal pressure, trauma or loss, or vital changes in a routine, the holidays can be overwhelming for some. People with pre-existing conditions of depression, anxiety, personality disorders, or PTSD may find the holidays extra stressful, compared to regular days.
Other symptoms can be:
- Family drama
- Financial stress
- Societal pressures around shopping and gift giving
- Travel-related stress
- Drastic changes in routine (neglect self-care)
- Previous traumas, grief, or losses surrounding the holidays
- Changes in appetite
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Irritable mood
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feeling unimportant
- Feeling tense, worried, or anxious
Coping with Holiday Depression
When to Talk to a Professional
Staying on the path to recovery may become hazy or challenging, and that’s where help comes in to cope with seasonal depression. Practicing healthy coping skills can help improve your frame of mind, it’s important to try and have a plan to take care of yourself during this time. It’s healthy to ask for help because you’re not ok. It’s ok to say no to overextending yourself socially or financially, to reduce stress. Take the time to pace yourself, and prioritize what is important to you.
Your mental health shouldn’t be taken lightly, and the treatment required varies based on the person and the severity. From medication to other coping mechanisms such as therapy, either step will allow you to begin healing. Millions of people are affected by mental health each year, here at Psych4U we strive to help people live happy fulfilling lives. We connect individuals, couples, and families with exceptional licensed providers to help you manage challenges like anxiety, depression, relationship issues, PTSD, bipolar disorder, and others. Psych4U uses a combination of medical and therapeutic treatments, with evaluations, follow-up sessions, therapy services, and medicine management.