What are the Holiday Blues?

Have you noticed a reocurring lingering gloom that grows as you see the leaves start to change their color?  Do you feel a twinge of frustration when pumpkin spice anything  returns to the Starbucks menu as the sun disappears earlier and earlier? Does it intensify with the mention of a family feast, Christmas shopping, or valentine’s plans? If so, you may be experiencing the holiday blues. The holiday blues are also associated with the psychological term seasonal affective disorder. This disorder is described as the depression symptoms experienced during the changing of the seasons. The holiday blues are more specifically experienced during society’s major holidays.


How Prevalent are the Holiday Blues?

In a report run by The National Alliance on Mental Illness, they found that over 60% of people with mental illness experienced worse symptoms during the holiday season. The most commonly reported occurrences happen during Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year, and Valentine’s day. Oddly enough, outside of these holidays, the most depressing day of the year is reportedly labeled blue Monday, and it occurs on the 3rd Monday in January every year.


How Does the Holiday Blues Feel?

The holiday blues can show up in many forms. The most common forms include feeling more tired than usual, tension, worry, and anxiety. Other symptoms include a change in appetite or weight, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, and a change in sleep patterns.


How Can Someone Deal with the Holiday Blues?

The experience of holiday blues can be managed if you preprepare. If you notice that your depression and anxiety worsen during the same celebrations each year, you can manage some of the triggers. One of the best ways to manage the triggers is to start or increase sessions with a mental health professional. A counselor can ask the right questions to help you avoid some triggers and manage the unavoidable ones. Make sure that you keep yourself busy. A sedentary and solo lifestyle often encourages depressive thoughts. Volunteering with people in need can create a healthy sense of purpose where you may also meet positive, like-minded people. Watching your diet is also very important. We are more likely to indulge in high calory, starchy, and sugary foods during the holiday season that cause emotional fluctuations. Lastly, speaking with your primary care physician is beneficial. They may prescribe medication or holistic supplements to help with depression and anxiety symptoms.


If you have been diagnosed with a mental illness or need help coping with your emotions, Rivers of Hope Counseling LLC has a team of licensed professionals ready to help you on your mental health journey today.



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