There is not a doubt in many people’s minds that the holidays can be stressful. Shopping, social events, debt, and other pressures can lead to anxiety. Missing loved ones, and stewing about past events can also contribute. This change from your everyday routine can cause you to neglect good nutrition. And, you are more likely to skip exercise. Together, these factors can lead to holiday blues.
Will Your Holiday be Blue?
During the holidays, you may feel lonely, sad, angry, and have poor sleep. Even if you’re not prone to depression, you may have other symptoms, such as headaches, tension, and fatigue. It’s also easy to eat and drink too much.
It’s also common to feel a holiday letdown after the holidays are over. Hectic holidays can leave you feeling physically and emotionally drained. You may feel a sense of loss or frustration. That can turn into the blues.
Holiday Blues Versus Clinical Depression and SAD
Don’t confuse holiday blues with clinical depression. The holiday blues could need something as simple as a good listener. Clinical depression, however, can be triggered in a number of ways at or just after the holidays. Clinical depression is a disorder that may need to be treated with medicine.
“There is also a tendency to link the holiday blues with seasonal affective disorder (SAD),” explains Steward Medical Group Primary Care Physician Sharda Kaul, MD. “SAD, however, is a diagnosable problem linked to fewer hours of sunlight during the winter. People with the holiday blues also can also have SAD. But, the two are not directly related. People with SAD have symptoms of major depression throughout the fall and winter.”
Tips to Ease the Blues
If you have the true holiday blues, try these tips:
- Have a heart-to-heart with a friend.
- Limit alcohol intake.
- Stick within your normal routine as much as you can.
- Set a realistic budget and then stick to it.
- Set realistic goals and expectations.
- Do not label the season as a time to cure past problems.
- Don’t be afraid to say no. That means don’t go to parties when you don’t have time. Don’t take on events that will crowd your time. Don’t overextend yourself.
- Find time for yourself.
- Enjoy free holiday activities.
- Try to celebrate the holidays differently.
The holiday blues can be quite common, but if you are feeling especially down for more than two weeks talk to your primary care physician for help and guidance. If you are thinking about suicide, call 911 or your health care provider right away.
To find a doctor or schedule an appointment, visit Steward DoctorFinder™.