The holiday season is about giving to others, but don’t forget that being kind to yourself is important for your emotional and physical health.
The holidays aren’t exactly a joyous time for everyone. Psychiatrist, Dr. Norman Rosenthal, notes that it’s a time when people are more aware of their loneliness. People become plagued with unpleasant holiday memories, long for lost loved ones or are simply distraught because they haven’t achieved that “perfect holiday.” These feelings lead to holiday blues and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
According to Dr. Rosethanl, holiday blues arise from psychological conflicts and tend to last through the holiday season. SAD is a severe, physical form of holiday blues. Those with “SAD are suffering from a clinical depression” that usually lasts for several months. Six percent of the US population is affected by SAD and another 14 percent of American adults suffer from holiday blues.
Holiday Blues and SAD Share Common Symptoms
- Difficulty concentrating
- Loss of interest/passion
- And social withdrawal
Physical Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder
- Insomnia or oversleeping
- Loss of energy
- Overeating or loss of appetite
- And persistent thoughts of death.
Beat the Winter Blues with These Holiday Blues Tips
To protect yourself this holiday season take proactive steps. Listed below are tips to help you identify the causes of your sadness and Mindful Health solutions.
- Time changes. The early setting of the sun can be quite depressing for some of us.
Solution: Consider taking a rejuvenating morning walk in the early daylight or invest in bright light bulbs to keep your home and mood sunny after dark.
- Alcohol/Overeating. With seasonal feasts and toasts, we consume more alcohol and food than usual. This worsens our depression and lowers our self-confidence.
Solution: Remember to eat well, limit alcoholic beverages, and exercise regularly.
- Over-scheduling/Lack of planning. A peaceful holiday requires balance. Partaking in too many activities causes exhaustion, but waiting until the last minute causes panic.
Solution: Consider delegating tasks or creating a Mindful holiday stress plan.
- No personal time. We usually spend the season constantly surrounded by others.
Solution: Schedule time for yourself. Consider meditation, yoga or a hobby.
- Unrealistic expectations. We set high expectations for ourselves, trying to plan a “Hallmark Christmas.” We’re then disappointed in ourselves when we don’t succeed.
Solution: Consider setting attainable holiday goals and don’t be so hard on yourself. This year when you list what you’re thankful for don’t forget to mention you.