Christmas Depression - How to Beat Winter Blues
Christmas depression, or winter blues, is attributed to, Seasonal Affective Disorder, or past emotional trauma during the winter months, or surrounding the holiday itself. The winter blues is different than clinical depression. This disorder usually takes place during the changing of the seasons from Fall to Winter when the sunny days are shorter and the night is longer.
If you have never experienced holiday depression, I am sure that you know someone who has.The onset of this depression may begin during the changing of seasons, such as from summer to fall or fall to winter. Holiday depression could be experienced by someone who is usually a very happy person.
Holiday depression is not something you can tell someone to, "just shake it off!" I can have both and emotion as well as a chemical source. It is a real depression in every sense and can develop into full blown clinical depression if not addressed.
The deepest fear we have, 'the fear beneath all fears,' is the fear of not measuring up, the fear of judgment. It's this fear that creates the stress and depression of everyday life.
— Tullian Tchividjian
What are your Triggers?
The triggers for holiday Seasonal depression can be triggered by a traumatic event that took place during the holiday season in the past, like a divorce or the death of a loved one during that time or season.
This depression may begin to manifest, a month or weeks before the anniversary of the event. I used to get depressed around Christmas and did not know why, until I remembered, my deceased Mom's birthday was two days after Christmas.
The onset of that holiday was very challenging for me; but time and talking to siblings about my Mom, brought me comfort and healing.
Season Affective Disorder, can also have its root in the lack of friends, family or close relationships with which to share these holidays. Like is all your family lives in another state or country, or you are away at school and can't get home.
Sometimes, holiday depression is associated with seasonal effective depression, (SAD) where the person becomes depressed as the days shorten and there is less sun.
Whatever the reason you are experiencing holiday depression, there are things you can do to help you overcome this painful depression.
See a Doctor
Depression is a very serious mental illness and doesn't let the title scare you away from getting help. More people commit suicide during Christmas than any other time of the year. If you are very depressed, please call a mental health hotline, but most of all, see a doctor. Ask him/her to prescribe something for depression short-term.
If you do not have health insurance, go anyway. Hospitals have to treat you on an emergency basis. After being seen by a physician, you will be referred to a Social Worker, that can find sources for you to pay. You may even not receive a bill at all, if you qualify, for low-income assistance.
When dealing with holiday depression ask yourself... "Should I put all my expectations into one day?" Do you recall how much better you felt, one day after the holiday that made you so miserable? It is just one day and you can not let that one day define you!
Most holidays are created for one thing...to make money! It is estimated that $1.9 billion is spent on Halloween candy each year! Halloween candy! Not to mention what is spent on costumes and decorations. Americans spend and estimated, $469 Billion on holiday shopping!
Holidays are promoted and commercialized, to make money and that is the bottom line. The almighty dollar is king! Holidays are promoted to make people spend money. Don't let them manipulate you! Believe me, Christmas is not going anywhere, ever, so we have to find a plan to survive and even overcome dark feelings associated with it.
Remember the true purpose of a holiday is friends family, gratitude, and love. You don't need one dime to tell someone you love them. Also, look for reasons to be grateful during the holidays rather than looking at what you do not have.
Diet and Exercise
Omega -3 fatty acids and vitamin B-12 can essentially improve your mood and help lift depression. I have found it to be a great help in my own life. Take omega-3 fish oil supplement or flax seed oil.
Eat foods high in omega -3 fatty acids such as tuna, salmon, mackerel beans nuts and dark vegetables. Fortified cereals can also provide the B-12 you need if you do not eat meat.
Exercise is a great way to manage stress and depression many times associate with the holidays. After a good workout endorphins are released and it gives you an overall feeling of well-being.
Seasonal Effective Depression
If your depression is caused by SAD, light therapy has been known to be extremely helpful. Light therapy will increase the number of hours of sunlight your get each day and help decrease symptoms of depression by increasing serotonin levels in the body making it easier for you to relax and sleep.
Light therapy can be more effective than medication. Speak to your doctor about your seasonal depression. Your medical coverage may pay for your SAD lamp. They are also a lot more inexpensive than they were years ago.
Holistic ways to Overcome Winter Blues
Plan Something Special
Be proactive, by planning something special yourself during the holiday which gives your trouble.
Don't wait for someone to invite you to do something, rather plan a party or a trip with some friends. This is a great way to replace sad past memories with newer and happier memories of that holiday.
Don't wait until the last moment or you may be met with disappointment as others may already have made plans. Start rounding up folks a few months before the holiday.
It will give you something to look forward to. You will also be surprised, how many other people have the same challenges you do with holiday depression.