Seasonal Affective Disorder – “Holiday Depression”?
Part 6 - Worries and Regrets
In the northern hemisphere, the days get shorter and the darkness seems to win towards the holiday season around November-December.
In this 6-part series I will talk about possible causes of SAD - and what we can do to help!
What is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)?
For many people that darkness extends to their emotions, and they feel gloomy, down and generally miserable. They may be experiencing depression, sleep problems, weight gain, anxiety, joint pain, irritability, stress, or headaches. This is known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), winter depression, or “Holiday Depression”.
What are the most important causes contributing to SAD?
- Lack of sunlight
- Holiday Treats
- Lack of Nutrients
- Increased Stress from the holiday season
- Lack of Exercise
- Regrets and Worries
What Can we Do about it?
- Light Therapy
- Reduce Sugary and Junk Food (as much as possible)
- Take supplements
- Relax – Your Holidays do not need to be perfect
- Move more
- Be kind to yourself – Exterminate the ANT’s from your Brain…
Each week I will talk about one of these issues.
So today here is Cause - and Intervention # 6 addressed:
Cause # 6: Worries and Regrets
Many psychologists feel that often people look back over the year and see themselves as failures. Another year is behind you and your personal goals may not have been achieved.
You may not have lost the weight you wanted, you may not have gone to the gym as often as you promised yourself, and you didn't manage to start saving for retirement....
Then there are financial worries, expenses associated with buying Holiday gifts and entertaining others, or with travel expenses.
Relationships can clash when people are together more than usual.
Do you feel like a failure, beating yourself up over not having done what you told yourself you wanted to do?
These thoughts then can lead to a worse mood. So it is no wonder that we don't feel as well during the holidays.
I myself have done that many times in the past before I finally learned to deal with it the right way - by loving yourself and being your own best friend. And there are ways to learn to do just that.
Intervention # 6: Become Your Internal Ant-Eater...
Now that sounds weird. What exactly does this mean?
It means talking back to your Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANT's) in a way so your brain and mind can believe it.
This means writing it out on paper. You may have heard it as cognitive behavioural therapy. Many psychologists are trained in this method and it does work.
If you want to try to do it yourself, I have a worksheet which I use with my clients. Download it below!
Be kind to yourself. Talk good about others, especially when they are not present...
Focus on positive images of the Holidays.
Focus on laughter, love, excitement and hope.
If you follow all 6 tips, you will reduce or avoid your Holiday Depression.
Enjoy your holidays!
If you feel you need help....
If you feel you need help coping with the holidays, please reach out for help. Call a trusted friend or family member, a counselor, a doctor or reach out to us.
Is it really bad? Are you feeling like hurting yourself? Please go for help right now. Call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest Emergency Room.
Don't give up! There is a light at the end of the tunnel for you, too! Go to my about page and watch the video of my story, and you will get the courage to go for help.