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Holiday Depression

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Are you not feeling very joyful during the holiday season? You may be suffering from holiday depression (yes, it’s a thing). Shopping, family gatherings, and the pressure to maintain that “holiday spirit” can add lots of stress to your already busy life. Plus, the cold and rainy weather don’t do us any favors. If you’re already dealing with mental health conditions, the holidays may be challenging for you. However, the doctors at Cedars- Sinai say that even though the holidays don’t necessarily exacerbate mental health conditions, they do have the tendency to create more stress. It’s important to watch out for changes in your mood and lifestyle in order to take care of yourself and put yourself first this holiday season.

Signs to Look Out For

If this holiday season has been particularly stressful for you, pay attention to your behavior and what is causing you stress. Some signs that point to having holiday depression include headaches, excessive drinking, over-eating, and difficulty sleeping. This may mean getting a lot more sleep than usual or a lot less sleep than usual. Look out for any breaks from the norm or any unusual patterns. Holiday depression may also look like becoming more withdrawn, more irritable, and more impulsive. If you feel like these changes are happening to you or a loved one, there’s a chance it might be holiday depression. 

Different Ways to Overcome Holiday Depression

With all of the obligations this holiday season, it’s important to stay “true to who you are.” Pay attention to what is causing you high levels of stress and realize you may have to say no to some gatherings or leave if it is causing you too much stress. Make sure you carve out time for some self-care; go take a bath or try a new workout. If you feel yourself getting nostalgic about past holidays, try creating new traditions. Whatever you do, don’t forget to put yourself first.  

Seasonal Depression

Seasonal Affective Disorder, also called SAD, is a kind of depression that is related to the seasons changing. It usually starts in the fall and continues throughout the winter. It’s important to be aware of this specifically around the holidays because your case might be more than just a seasonal funk and there are treatments for SAD that may help. Specific symptoms to indicate on-set of SAD include oversleeping, appetite changes, weight gain, and tiredness. Some treatments to help you overcome this often include light therapy, medications, and psychotherapy.

Getting Help

If you’ve tried some of the steps above and are still feeling down or thinking you might be facing seasonal affective disorder, it’s important that you seek professional help. This may mean seeing a therapist or reaching out to a loved one. Chriselda Santos, licensed psychotherapist and certified life coach, at Life Balanced Therapy understands the surmounting pressure that comes with the holidays. If you are interested in learning more about Chriselda’s approach to therapy, or you want to book an appointment, visit her website