Around the world, the most wonderful time of the year… can also be one of the hardest. Seasonal Affective Disorder was once thought to be a form of depression that occurred due to the changing of the weather. However, according to an article in Psychology Today, holiday depression can also be attributed to loneliness and unrealistic expectations of what the holidays should look like.
– Difficulty sleeping
– Change in or loss of appetite
– Change in sleeping habits
– No interest in socializing
– No interest in participating in activities
1.4% of people in the state of Florida suffer with holiday depression. At the forefront of this demographic are seniors who may be spending the holidays alone. Though Seasonal Affective Disorder can be challenging, it can also be an opportunity to take charge of your life and get more goodness out of the holiday season.
From seasonal solutions to medical intervention, here are 10 ways to combat holiday depression and live your best life during the silly season…
Make a Difference by Volunteering in Your Neighborhood.
Serving others promotes a healthy self-worth and a sense of belonging. Senior citizens have a lot to offer when it comes to helping those in need. With years of life experience and skill sets beneath your belts, seniors are extremely beneficial to supporting the needs of their local community.
Bake Holiday Cookies to Give as Gifts.
Loneliness is temporary. Baking holiday cookies and delivering them to friends, neighbors and family members, puts you face to face with people who may be feeling the same way you are.
Get Out and Exercise.
Studies have shown that just 10 minutes of walking a day can be enough to kick start the body’s natural feel good hormones. No matter your fitness level, there is an exercise for everyone. The more you exercise, the better you will feel.
Install New Lighting.
Drab lighting is associated with holiday depression. Consider installing holiday lighting that can brighten up your home.
Make a Christmas-Themed Craft.
Seasonal crafts are easy to find for free on sites like Pinterest where people are eager to share their creations. Take the items you make and give them away as gifts.
Create a Social Network Account.
If you are home-bound, getting out and about can be difficult. Connect with old friends, family and colleagues through social media. Facebook is a favorite among senior citizens because it offers a bevy of privacy and security settings that other sites may lack. Remember, no matter what social network you decide to join, to exercise caution while on the web.
Participate in Events at Your Synagogue or Church.
If you are religious, spend Hanukah or Christmas where the heart of the season is still most alive. Religious activities are usually bountiful during the holiday season. From holiday plays to special dinners, temples and churches are great places to find companionship and belonging.
Stay in Touch with Loved Ones.
If you cannot get out to visit loved ones, make time for phone calls, texts or letters. These simple steps can help you make big strides in combating holiday loneliness.
Be Realistic About the Season.
The media paints a portrait of a perfect Christmas season… and no real holiday season is perfect. Take time to appreciate your own unique brand of the holiday season – even if you do not hang wreaths, or light candles, go caroling or participate in holiday events.
Know When to Get Help.
You should never try to deal with depression alone. If you have felt blue for more than a couple of weeks, it may be time to get help. There is no shame in reaching out for a helping hand. Antidepressants and therapy are both safe, proven ways to overcome holiday depression and get back on track to feeling like yourself again.
*If you or someone you love is considering suicide, get help immediately. Call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. The call line is free to use, anonymous and open 24/7. You can also visit http://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ for resources or live chat.
As the holidays approach and pass us by here in Miami-Dade, remember that depression is a temporary problem. Though it can take time to figure out what works for you, diligence and patience give way to solutions as well as a brighter tomorrow.