As we move into the holidays, we are sometimes faced with feelings that are all but merry. We suddenly become very aware of sadness we feel as we remember loved ones, friends, and family who we are no longer able to share this time with. These feelings are heightened as we become pressured by social and financial obligations and may even cause some to feel depressed. Although most chalk this up to “seasonal depression”, there may be an explanation to a lot of the symptoms you are feeling.
Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is a type of depression that is directly related to the change in seasons. Coincidently, for most this begins as fall arrives, the weather changes, and there are less daylight hours as we move into winter. According to Texas Vista Medical Center Psychiatrist, Victor Gonzalez Jr., M.D., “the start of the holiday season can be stressful for many reasons beyond social stressors. Biologically, we are affected by the lack of sunlight and sometimes inactivity that results from the cold weather months. I suggest staying as physically active as possible as well as even looking into light therapy to balance your circadian rhythm.”
Some signs that you may be experiencing SAD include:
- Weight gain
- Decrease in energy levels
- Feelings of increased sadness
- Sleeping for long periods of time
These feelings tend to increase the further into the winter you are and decrease as the season turns into spring. Here are a few tips to combat the effects of SAD:
- Light therapy
- Physical exercise
- Vitamin D supplements
Seasonal Affective Disorder should not be something that keeps you from enjoying your holiday season. If you feel your symptoms are worsening, reach out to your primary care provider or a mental health professional.
To find a doctor or schedule an appointment, visit Steward DoctorFinder™.