Seasonal depression is a depressive mood disorder that begins when seasons change. Many people experience seasonal depression during cold seasons – at the end of fall and throughout winter. Some people experience it as spring transitions to summer.
By definition, seasonal depression is persistent sadness and lack of interest in activities of daily living during a season. It is possible to experience this mental disorder during winter despite the holiday celebrations. The condition is often known as the holiday blues. However, left unattended, seasonal depression can turn into a severe form of depression.
Symptoms of seasonal depression include:
- Depressive mood – lingering sadness, despair, apathy, and displeasure.
- Lack of interest in activities – including work and hobbies.
- Anxiety – persistent and uncontrollable worrying.
- Exhaustion – despite having plenty of rest or a good night’s rest.
- Reduced concentration and attention.
- Appetite suppression or augmentation.
- Lack of sleep or feeling sleepy all the time.
- Suicidal thoughts and attempts.
Depression on holidays is devastating. It puts a damper on the festive mood. When everybody around is in a festive period when most people are delighting in the holiday spirit of love, laughter, family, and friends.
You do not have to endure holiday blues. There are ways to manage the condition and enjoy the festive season with loved ones. Here are some tips for coping with depression during the holiday season.
Light therapy is the first line of intervention for seasonal depression that persists during winter. Reduced sunlight exposure can be a contributing factor to the holiday blues. The sun’s rays help the body make vitamin D, which has an essential role in managing hormones that regulate your mood. As daylight decreases, the process of synthesizing this vitamin reduces drastically.
Phototherapy lets you maintain light exposure during winter, reducing the severity of depressive symptoms. The intervention uses artificial fluorescent light with a 10,000 lux intensity for 30 minutes or 2,500 lux intensity for 1 to 2 hours. Light therapy also
- Aligns your sleeping pattern with the internal clock, which manages your wake and sleep cycle, preventing insomnia and hypersomnia.
- It also balances serotonin, a primary hormone in mood regulation.
- Increases alertness.
Add Vitamin D to Your Diet
Research shows that vitamin D levels are significantly low in people with depression. Vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin, regulates serotonin and melatonin essential in controlling mood. During winter, vitamin levels reduce because daylight time reduces.
Eat foods rich in vitamin D during winter to better regulate the hormones that mediate mood in the brain. Foods rich in vitamin D include oily fish, liver, egg yolk, and fish liver oils. You can also take vitamin D supplements if you are a vegan or vegetarian.
Plan Activities for the Winter
It is also possible to get depression because of the activity changes during winter. You may become inclined to stay indoors to avoid the cold and dull weather. However, depression thrives in isolation.
Fill those winter days with fun-filled activities to keep your mind from indulging in negative thinking and worry.
- Go on a ski trip.
- Try ice skating.
- Make snow angels with your kids, nephews, and nieces.
- Book a cabin.
- Have a warm and cozy staycation and enjoy some warm soups and beverages.
- Participate in winter games and other fun activities.
Spend More Time with Your Loved Ones
The holiday blues can increase your urge to isolate. Plan your days around friends and loved ones instead of staying alone. You are more likely to worry or indulge in negative thoughts when lonely.
Loved ones are a source of support. They will encourage you and increase your motivation to work on your mental health. They also provide accountability, keeping you from depending on substance use, food, or destructive behavior like gambling or sexual promiscuity.
Research also shows that friends and family increase your perception of belonging, boosting your happiness, satisfaction, and peace. Having a sense of belonging also reduces the severity of depressive symptoms.
Talk to a Certified Mental Health Practitioner
Seasonal depression is a debilitating disorder that interferes with daily living. A certified mental health practitioner can provide the needed treatment for this type of depression. Help from a qualified therapist will empower you to remain resilient throughout the winter season.
We understand the importance of finding a qualified professional to meet your mental health needs. That’s why we strive to provide an extensive network of experienced psychiatrists and therapists in Florida. Our highly skilled specialists possess years of experience, specialized training, and board certification.
No matter what your diagnosis or condition is, our psychiatrists and clinicians can provide you with the care and attention needed to work toward optimal mental health.