With the days becoming shorter and the colder weather setting in, many of us may also experience a change in our moods around this same time. It is no coincidence that the holidays are fast approaching.
This type of mood change can result in the onset of depression, which can strike any one of us depending on the different factors in our lives and what we are currently struggling with at the time
The winter season brings with it, fewer daylight hours and we are spending less time outdoors. These factors can contribute to seasonal affective disorder which typically is related to the change of seasons. Along with this disorder, holiday depression can strike at the same time.
Both of these conditions can result in certain symptoms we may be experiencing such as a loss of energy or we may feel more tired than usual. We can also experience an increased appetite, become irritable for no reason and feel unhappy most of the time.
Three common causes of holiday depression:
Stress & Anxiety
The holidays are typically a time of celebration with family, friends and loved ones. But they can also be a huge source of stress and anxiety for some of us feeling overwhelmed at all there is to do.
With high expectations during the holiday season to make everything perfect and everyone happy, we may not meet all of these expectations and this can lead to disappointment.
The stress of shopping for gifts and money spent, the amount of time spent on decorating, cooking and baking, and everywhere we go is typically more crowded such as the stores, the roads, the traffic. All these factors can contribute to us becoming fatigued along with stress and anxiety, which can lead to depression.
Family Related issues
There are families who only see each other during the holidays which can make the season a little more difficult, especially depending on the amount of time spent with family, anxiety of social gatherings and the tensions that can arise with all that togetherness.
And, then there are some with the opposite problem. They may not have any family at all and will be spending the holiday entirely alone. Whatever the situation, these are all contributing factors to holiday depression.
Lack of sunlight
During the winter months, the lack of sunlight can be a trigger for seasonal affective disorder. With longer periods of darkness, less time being active with less exercise and spending less time socially with others, this can all result in this disorder which can escalate to depression. Remember to get more sleep and take care of yourself physically. Some people even opt for light therapy to help with the lack of sunshine.
If you feel you are suffering from holiday depression or seasonal affective disorder, or both, check with your doctor for some ideas to help combat these disorders and get you through the long winter months.
Remember to take care and be gentle with yourself and whatever you are dealing with.
Try to find joy in the small moments and the little things we so often overlook because we are too busy rushing here and there and don’t take the time to stop and breathe and just enjoy the season.
This is where you will find some of your happiness and peace. And remember, just breathe.