The holidays are usually experienced as a time of happiness and love, but for some people, it can be a period of painful loneliness, sadness, anxiety, and often-times depression.
Feelings of sorrow and sadness that last throughout the holiday season, usually from November through January, are known as the holiday blues. While usually less serious and shorter in duration than clinical depression, these feelings can still have a major debilitating impact on your ability to function normally during this time of year.
The most common symptom of the holiday blues is a tenacious and recurring feeling of sadness. This feeling tends to vary in intensity and length. Some people might feel down periodically, but experience brief periods of feeling more upbeat. Others may have more moderate to severe feelings of depression that last throughout the season.
Some signs of the holiday blues might include:
- Feelings of exhaustion and fatigue
- Sleeping more
- Losing interest in activities that you normally enjoy
- Lack of pleasure in normal activities
- Trouble making decisions
- Difficulty concentrating
- Withdrawing from friends and family
- Feelings of loneliness
- Feeling irritable or angry
Even when participating in things that they would normally enjoy, people with the holiday blues have trouble enjoying themselves. Activities that are specifically related to the holiday itself, such as social events, family meals, and gift-giving, may actually trigger feelings of anxiety or sadness. Don’t let this happen to you! You can easily be treated.
Unless you are diagnosed with a more serious case of depression, your doctor probably won’t prescribe medications to treat your symptoms. Some doctors will recommend Clinical Hypnotherapy, in many cases, you can manage the holiday blues on your own with lifestyle changes, hypnotherapy and social support. The National Alliance for Mental Illness has these tips for managing the Holiday Blues.