Managing Your Depression After the Holiday Season
The holiday season is time of joy and cheer. The air is buzzing with excitement and love from Thanksgiving through to New Year’s Eve. But now the time with family, the holiday cheer, and the spark of hope that comes with New Year’s Eve is all over. Suddenly all that’s waiting in the near future are a few dull, wet and grey months.
For some the holidays aren’t all that they’re cracked up to be, but for others, like myself, it’s in the downtime after the holidays when I can feel myself slipping. So now what?
Recognizing Your State
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “The first step to solving any problem is recognizing there is one.” This is true for those that suffer with depression as well.
Being aware of your mental state and knowing the symptoms to look for can help to identify what’s really going on. Ignoring the feelings or expecting them to go away on their own doesn’t work and can only exacerbate the problem.
If you have been diagnosed for a while, you likely know how your depression manifests itself so you know which behaviors to watch for. It may help to ask your friends and loved ones to notify you if they notice certain patterns — sometimes you can’t see the big picture when you’re in the middle of it.
Could It Be Seasonal Affective Disorder?
If you only experience these depressive episodes during the fall and winter months you may have seasonal affective disorder (SAD). SAD is a type of depression that coincides with the changes of the season; typically beginning in the fall and winter months and ending around spring. It more commonly affects women, but a great deal of men can be affected as well.
It’s normal for people to be a bit down during the winter months because of a decrease in sunlight and the cold temperatures that keep us seeking warmth at home, but if you feel any of the following symptoms for extended periods of time or can’t find the motivation or energy to do the daily tasks or engage in hobbies you enjoy it may be time to see your doctor.
Common symptoms of SAD are:
- Fatigue or low energy
- Changes in sleep patterns — typically sleeping more than usual
- Changes in appetite — typically more hungry or experiencing cravings for comfort food such as complex carbs and sweets
- Weight gain
- Decreased libido
Ways to Fight Depression After the Holidays
Whether it’s SAD or you’re experiencing a depressive episode, there are ways to combat the negative feelings and physical effects of depression. It may take one or more methods of treatment before you find yourself feeling healthy and happy again, but it’s important to find activities and coping methods that work for you.