The holidays usher in a spirit of excitement and joy, but it’s not all time off, family traditions and cozy meals around the dining room table. An uptick in depression and anxiety is common in the winter, especially around the holidays when stress and family disappointments can lend themselves to mental strain. Millions of Americans say they suffer from this seasonal depression. Do you?
SAD, or seasonal affective disorder, is a depression associated with changes in seasons and most commonly occurs in the fall and winter. Symptoms of SAD include:
- Feeling sad or “down”
- Having low energy and experiencing exhaustion often
- Losing interest in your hobbies
- Weight gain
SAD is familiar to many in the US—10 million Americans suffer from this mental disorder. If you’re one of them, you don’t have to continue to suffer in silence. There are ways to find normalcy and experience the joy of the holidays again. Check out our list of five ways to manage your depression this holiday season.
Acknowledge Your Feelings
It may be hard around the holidays to be surrounded by spirit and joy when you don’t feel the same way. Remember that you can’t force yourself to feel “happy.” Instead, recognize your emotions and try to be open with family and friends.
Join a Support Group
Studies have found that joining a support group, where other members are experiencing similar or the same mental illnesses, can help alleviate feelings of sadness and other symptoms. Especially around the holidays, it’s recommended to surround yourself with a community that can empathize with you and support you.
Outdoor Exercise Can Make You Feel Good!
Though it may be cold, experts recommend bundling up and heading outside as a natural way to fight depression. Regular exposure to nature has calming effects that can benefit someone experiencing anxiety or depression. Even if you can’t get outside, do an at-home workout. Exercise is a highly effective method for treating depression and at-home workouts provide flexibility that’s useful in planning around your holiday calendar.
Depression and anxiety can be crippling, leaving one overwhelmed by their to-do list. Instead of thinking “I’m going to buy gifts for everyone in my family today,” try narrowing down your goals and shopping for just one person. When you’ve accomplished one small thing, it’s easier to tackle the rest of your to-do list without becoming overwhelmed.
Seek Professional Help
Speak to a therapist this holiday season about your experiences with mental health issues. According to the American Psychological Association, 75% of people who see a therapist report experiencing a lessening of symptoms. Speaking with a professional can provide you with appropriate coping mechanisms, medication or just a consistent outlet to express how you feel.
At Coryell Health, we care about your health, whether that’s your physical or mental health. If you’re experiencing depression, talk to your primary care provider today about treatment options that are right for you.