Feeling depressed over the winter holidays? You’re not alone.
A study showed 14 percent of adults in the US are affected by seasonal mood changes, or “the winter blues”. Another 6 percent experience a more severe major depressive order called SAD, or seasonal affective disorder.
Add holidays to the mix and it can take serious effort to maintain a healthy mindset over the winter. Here are some evidence-based tips on how to deal with depression over the holidays.
Vitamin D from sunlight is critical to boosting mental health. It plays a major role in mood and production of melatonin. Just a few minutes in the sun, especially in the first hour of waking up, can have a dramatic impact on how we feel the rest of the day.
Light Therapy Box
If you can’t get outside, consider a light therapy box. These mimic sunshine to help alleviate seasonal affective disorder symptoms. Expects recommend sitting in front of it for 20-30 minutes within the first hour of waking up.
Maintain Healthy Habits
The holiday season presents added temptations such as food, parties, and alcohol that can be hard to resist. Despite feeling down or hopeless, it is critical to stay disciplined with a healthy diet, exercise routine, and sleep schedule. This is the foundation to better mental health.
Set Realistic Expectations
Many times, we set ourselves up for disappointment by imagining the perfect holiday that never was. Be grateful for what is.
Limit Social Media
Using social media to stay connected to family and friends can be a healthy and positive experience. However, studies show that people who spend more time on social media often feel more isolated, more anxious, and more depressed. Monitor your usage, and more importantly, monitor how you feel after using social media.
Reach Out For Support
If symptoms of depression occur for more than a few weeks, it’s time to share these feelings with someone you trust. Talk to a friend or family member. Ask a coworker to lunch. Schedule time with a therapist.