What are the Holiday Blues? - Deepstash

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What Are Holiday Blues?

What Are Holiday Blues?

Feelings of sadness that last throughout the holiday season—especially during the months of November and December—are often referred to as the holiday blues or holiday depression. The holidays are usually viewed as a time of happiness and rejoicing. But for some people, it can be a period of painful reflection, sadness, loneliness , anxiety, and depression.

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But I Love The Holidays?

But I Love The Holidays?

Even people who love the holidays can experience the blues during this busy season. The holidays are often a time of high emotion and demands, which can leave a lot of people feeling stressed and exhausted. 

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Holidays Make Their Condition Worse

Holidays Make Their Condition Worse

People with a prior mental health condition may be even more prone to experiencing holiday depression. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), 64% of people with an existing mental illness report that the holidays make their condition worse.1

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Signs & Symptoms

Signs & Symptoms

  • Changes in appetite or weight
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Depressed or irritable mood
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Feeling more tired than usual
  • Feeling tense, worried, or anxious
  • Loss of pleasure in doing things you used to enjoy

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SAD V/S Holiday Depression

SAD V/S Holiday Depression

Feeling sad during the winter and holiday months may also be a sign of seasonal affective disorder (SAD). SAD is a form of major depressive disorder (MDD) that occurs in seasonal patterns during certain months of the year.

Holiday depression and SAD can be difficult to distinguish from one another, but the duration and severity of your symptoms are usually your best clues:

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Difference Between SAD And Holiday Blues

Difference Between SAD And Holiday Blues

  • Duration : The holiday blues start around November or December and lift shortly after the new year ends. SAD, however, typically lasts about 40% of the year—starting in the late fall and early winter and going away during the spring and summer.
  • Symptom severity : The symptoms of holiday depression are fairly mild. SAD, on the other hand, is often more severe and can be debilitating.

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Causes Of Holiday Blues

Causes Of Holiday Blues

  • Lack of sleep : A hectic holiday schedule can lead to a lack of sleep , which increases stress.
  • Excess eating and alcohol use : Unfortunately, people sometimes turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms to handle holiday sadness and stress. Excessive drinking and overeating can make the symptoms of holiday depression even more pronounced.
  • Financial stress : Overextending yourself financially or struggling to afford gifts for family and friends can create an added burden of financial stress .

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Causes Of Holiday Blues

Causes Of Holiday Blues

  • Isolation and loneliness : Not being able to spend the holidays with your family and friends can make the holiday season seem especially lonely.
  • Unrealistic expectations : Sometimes even having high hopes for the season can lead to holiday stress and sadness. The over-commercialization of the holidays can create the expectation that people are supposed to feel nonstop joy and holiday cheer, which can create pressure to feel a very specific way, adding yet another stressor to an already hectic time of year.

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Coping

Coping

In addition to talking to your doctor or a mental health professional, there are a number of things that you can do on your own to make the holidays easier to deal with. 

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Drink In Moderation

Drink In Moderation

Alcohol is a depressant and drinking too much can exacerbate any negative feelings that you might have. This doesn't mean you need to go cold turkey. Instead, limit your consumption and avoid using alcohol as a way to deal with or avoid difficult emotions. If you choose to drink, try to limit yourself to one or two alcoholic drinks when you are out at social functions.

Don't drink alcohol if you're feeling down. Excessive drinking will only increase your feelings of depression.

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Don't Isolate Yourself

Don't Isolate Yourself

Social isolation can be a major risk factor for depression. The problem is that sadness often makes you want to hide by yourself at home. And if you are on your own apart from family for the holidays, reaching out and finding social support can be all the more difficult.

Look for ways that you can enjoy social connections, even if you aren’t able to go home for the holidays. If you’re feeling lonely, ask a friend to come over for a heart to heart. Join a local club, volunteer for something you believe in, or even see a counselor for support.

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Exercise Regularly

Exercise Regularly

While it can be difficult to stick to a workout schedule when you are feeling down, research has shown that regular physical activity can play an important role in preventing and reducing symptoms of depression.

So while hitting the gym can be tough when you are stressed, busy, and feeling sad, try to remember that you don’t need to glue yourself to the treadmill or weight machine to feel the benefits. Even a casual activity like going for a short walk each day might be enough to help keep the holiday blues at bay.

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Find Time For Yourself

Find Time For Yourself

Make sure that you leave enough time for yourself to relax. Even 15 to 20 minutes a day to enjoy some quiet time, read a book, listen to music, take a bath, do yoga, or some other relaxing activity can do wonders for your stress levels.

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Keep Realistic Expectations

Keep Realistic Expectations

It’s fine to be excited about the holidays and make plans for the things you want to do. But it is also important to keep your expectations realistic and reachable .

The holidays don’t have to be perfect to be special. They don’t have to be exactly like the holidays of the past to be just as meaningful and memorable.

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CURATED BY

skiess

My posts are all about life, psychology & good vibes ✨

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