The Holiday Season, for most, is a fun and bright time of year. However, while the focus of the season tends to be merriment and celebration, many folks tend to find themselves in a slump this time of year.
The holidays can be a demanding time for those that already suffer from mental illnesses, such as Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), as there are many obligations and societal/cultural expectations around this time of year. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), 64% of individuals with existing mental illness report that the holidays worsen their condition.
So what are the holiday blues? A feeling of persistent sadness or depression that creep up usually around November and can last until the holidays are over. Some signs to look out for include: difficulty concentrating, sad or depressed mood, change in sleep habits, fluctuations and changes in weight and appetite, irritability, feelings of guilt and/or worthlessness, anxiety, and diminished pleasure from the things you would normally derive enjoyment from.
While “holiday blues” isn’t a recognized condition for diagnosis, it can be a sign of a deeper issue, such as Seasonal Affective Disorder. If you or someone you know is struggling this holiday season, seeking the help of a health professional is an important step. Taking care of your mental wellbeing isn’t being a Grinch, and most importantly, you are not alone.