Mainstream Living

Depression During the Holidays

As the holidays approach, many of us become excited and are nostalgic for seasonal festivities. Keep in mind however, that while some people are very happy around the holidays, others can become depressed, experience anxiety, or have other negative feelings.  There are many factors that can affect mood during the holiday season. 

1) Planning big family events and dinners can be burdensome and stressful. It is easy to get overwhelmed by all the things that need to be done before guests arrive. Remember to ask for help from friends or family members with preparations. Try to remain calm if there are any disagreements, and take a break or time out if needed. 

2) Depression the holidays can sometimes be attributed to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD is a well-established condition where a person’s mood is affected by reduced sunlight exposure. This can be improved by spending more time outside, taking vitamin supplements, and using UV lighting indoors. It has also recently been shown that chilly winter temperatures can alter depression symptoms, adding to the intensity of SAD.

3) Loneliness often occurs if a person has no one to celebrate with and feels isolated. It is possible they may have bad memories associated with the holidays if they lost a loved one or experienced a past trauma during the holiday season.  Some ways to assist those who are feeling lonely are to invite them to an event to help create new memories.  A newer trend of ‘Friendsgiving’ is becoming more and more popular, and provides opportunities for people to celebrate friendships without the stress that may come during the holiday season. 
It is important to seek the help of a professional if symptoms are strong and consistent. If you or someone you know is struggling during the holiday season, don't hesitate to ask for help. There are community resources available. 

Iowa Crisis Line – 211
Iowa Help Line – Call, text, or chat online – 1-855-800-1239,

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