Holiday Blues: Myth or Fact?

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As the days get shorter and nights turn colder in the time approaching the holidays, it’s not uncommon to feel a dip in mood, or what some call the holiday blues.

Despite the end of the year being a culturally recognized time of happiness and merriment, feelings of depression are actually quite common. According to Medicine Net, even animals have mood and behavior changes with the seasons.

Some of these changes can include:

  • headaches
  • insomnia
  • uneasiness
  • anxiety
  • sadness
  • intestinal problems
  • unnecessary conflict with family and friends.

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For most of us, the changes are mild. Some people just eat and sleep slightly more. Others, however, experience symptoms considerable enough to disrupt their lives and cause real distress. This distress may be a result of a seasonal mood disorder.

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a condition known to affect many in the form of a true depression that occurs seasonally, usually starting in the fall and continuing throughout the winter months even beyond the holidays. Symptoms of SAD include irritation, excessive sleeping and loss of interest.

The International Business Times recently published suggestions for coping with SAD

  • Increasing exposure to sunlight: Walking outdoors every morning can help people suffering SAD as it is related to a lack of sunlight.
  • Taking vitamins: The intake of vitamins, especially vitamin D which is usually taken in through direct sunlight, can help fight fatigue and lack of focus.
  • Staying connected: Being in the presence of people and not restricting yourself to indoor activities can help cope with SAD as isolation adds to the feeling of depression.
  • Exercise: Getting involved in physical and mental wellness: aerobic exercise, yoga, massage, spiritual practices, taking long fast walks or any activity that calms you down and gives you a better perspective on what is important in your life
  • Maintaining a regular schedule: Try to keep a note of the time when you sleep. Maintaining a regular schedule everyday can help with excess sleeping.

It is highly recommended for SAD or holiday blues sufferers to refrain from drinking. The holidays are an easy route to over-indulgence and hangovers, but this will only exacerbate depression and anxiety.

In combating the blues, it’s most important to keep in mind that more often than not, you have a choice. There is a choice for attitude, perspective and options to seek help.

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