When the snow begins to fall, and holiday lights go up, some start feeling excitement, others do not. The winter months can be a hard time for many people for a number of reasons. There are some signs you might identify with that increase the possibility of holiday depression, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), or a general low mood.
1. Having lost someone.
This time of year is hard for people who have lost someone. This can be loss in many forms including those who are no longer with us, and some who are no longer in our lives because of breakups or other unfortunate experiences. Maybe a significant romantic relationship or friendship ended this time of year in the past. Any loss causes us to grieve. This can be challenging to heal from. If you find yourself missing someone terribly, you may find yourself feeling lower than usual.
2. You are way too busy
For many people the holidays are a whirlwind of get-togethers, gatherings, dinners, presents, cleaning, cooking, baking, shopping, you name it, it’s happening. When we put ourselves into over drive, we forget to take time for self-care. Many people say they don’t have time, but those are the priorities that will put your health on the back burner. Taking 5-20 minutes for yourself once a day to rest, read, journal, listen to music, or shower for example, are some ways we can practice some self-care and compassion.
3. You don’t want to say no
Another insight on being too busy is that we find it hard to say no. Having healthy boundaries, especially with family members, will reduce the risk of burn out. It is okay to let someone else host a holiday dinner. If we worry about people not liking us or avoid conflict for saying no, then maybe we need to rethink our relationship with that person. A negative reaction to setting a boundary is all the more reason why the boundary was needed in the first place. Our mental health is important.
4. You have no desire to do anything
Some of the classic signs of depression are low mood, lack of motivation, low energy, restlessness, irritability, and over sleeping or lack of sleeping. If you find you don’t want to do much, or don’t have the energy to things, you might want to find some support with a mental health professional. Or at least, talk to a trusted friend, family member, or your medical doctor.
5. You’re asking yourself what would it be like if I weren’t here
Some people have thoughts of ending their life that come and go. Some are seriously considering ending their life. Whether you have fleeting thoughts of harming yourself, or plans to end your life, know there is help for both and all the in-between. A mental health professional can help. Reaching out to trusted family and friends is a good place to start, and then talking to a therapist will get you the tools you need to turn these thoughts around.
There are all types of depression and not everyone’s moods will look the same. The most important thing we can do is ask for help. Find someone who you feel comfortable sharing what you are going through. If you or someone you know is feeling this way, please reach out. Therapy is a non-judgemental, confidential space. There is always someone who is willing to help, you just need to be willing to ask.
Article by: Dr. Ashley Spinney, DSW, MSW, RCSW
Owner and psychotherapist at Mindhous Wellness