Not For Those With Seasonal Blues
While the holidays are portrayed as a time for peace and joy, unfortunately, not everyone feels at peace and full of joy. For some people, holiday time leaves us feeling that something is missing and we may grieve for something that once was, or yearn for something that we don’t have. It is important during the holidays that we take time to care for ourselves using the ideas outlined in this article.
Families and Holiday Stress
Perhaps our family is no longer as it once was, and some loved ones have passed on and this is a time of year where we might feel the void. Others may feel stress over finances, and experience anxiety, depression or hopelessness over holiday spending. Perhaps we may even be wondering why we feel so alone in the crowd of people shopping at this time of year.The holidays also may bring up not so favorable memories that we may have a hard time keeping under the surface.
Seasonal Blues and Spirit Lake Therapy
At Spirit Lake Therapy our clients are getting support around issues like these at this time of year, and even into January when many feel some seasonal blues, and as the credit card bills roll in causing additional stress. Many people experience depression in the Winter, and it is still a mystery to scientists who study it. But researchers agree that people who suffer from seasonal affective disorder are particularly sensitive to light, or the lack of it.
Tips For Dealing With Seasonal Blues
So, what can we do to just feel better?
1. Be Proactive
We can plan ahead, cook ahead, shop ahead, and break our tasks into small manageable tasks so we don’t get overwhelmed at the last minute.
We often think being quiet about our feelings will help those around us to have a better holiday and make us feel better, when we know that in reality the best way to feel connected in our relationships is to share how we really feel, begin to feel heard, and then find relief from our aloneness.
3. Get Active
When we feel down we may think that staying at home alone will help, when in reality doing more encourages us to begin to feel accomplishment and hope. Getting out for a little exercise, sunshine, or socializing can really enhance feelings of doing something for ourselves.
4. Know Your Triggers
If we know that certain holiday videos or movies make us blue or situations bring back bad memories of family dysfunction, then we can try some new media or family traditions this year to brighten our mood and break old habits.
5. Set Healthy Boundaries
Do you really have to do it all yourself, perfectly? Be forgiving and gentle with yourself this holiday, so that you can be kinder to those you love.
6. Be Grateful and Express Gratitude
Gratitude makes us happier. Research shows that a five-minute a day gratitude journal can increase your long-term well-being by more than 10 percent.
7. Get Exposure To Light
During the Winter, we have less exposure to light. Many studies have shown that people with Winter depression, otherwise known as seasonal affective disorder, feel better after exposure to bright light. Alfred Lewy, MD, a seasonal affective disorder researcher at the Oregon Health & Science University, says it’s not just a matter of getting exposure to light, but also getting it at the right time. Dr Lewy states that “the most important time to get light is in the morning.”There are a number of ways to get exposure to this light. One such method is bright light products which are generated by a special light box that’s much brighter than a normal lamp. But these do not work for everyone.
8. Get Help
If you are feeling overwhelmed, anxious, depressed, hopeless, or reliving memories of trauma please remember professional help is only a call or email away. There are many treatment options for seasonal blues, depending on your type of depression. For some people with seasonal depression antidepressant medications can work. For others, just talking with a counselor can help.
To schedule a free 20 minute, no obligation consultation-Call Spirit Lake Therapist, Jenny Rousseau, at 877-718-4372.