While the holiday season is a joyful time, it can lead to stress and anxiety, also known as the holiday blues. NY1's Jill Urban filed the following report on what they are and how to cope.
For many, the holidays are a happy, festive time, but for some, they're a source of stress, anxiety or even loneliness that can lead to a state of depression called the holiday blues.
"While the holiday blues aren't really a diagnostic phenomena in our psychiatric diagnostic manual, they're a very real phenomena that affect a lot of people," says Dr. Marianne Chai of the New York Center for Living. "They're linked to feeling sad, feeling blue, feeling dark, sometimes having lower energy."
Chai says that there are triggers that can exacerbate the holiday blues, like financial pressure, such as family obligations and overall holiday stress. So NY1 asked what can people do to beat the blues.
"Exercise is a phenomenal way to deal with the holiday blues. It can ward them off and it help you cope if you feel that they're coming on to you," Chai says. "We also know that 30 minutes of exercise three to five days of the week can be as effective as an antidepressant in some people."
She also says to watch what you eat. Overindulging often results in feelings of guilt and sadness, so be mindful. The same goes for alcohol. While it's often associated with celebration, alcohol can lead to depression and in many cases, could make the blues worse.
Another thing that can lead to the holiday blues is overdoing it. It's nice to say yes to everyone, but it's not so nice if we don't make time for ourselves, so she recommends taking a little bit of time each day to separate from all the things you have to do just so you can clear your head.
She also recommends volunteering because it's a wonderful way to give back and allows you to connect with others in a meaningful way.
Sometimes, the holiday blues are actually linked to the time of year.
"There's a disorder called Seasonal Affective Disorder," Chai says. "This is a very specific form of depression. Its onset is usually in October, it lasts through late February, and it's very much linked to darker days, colder days and less sunlight.
If you think you may suffer from the holiday blues or Seasonal Affective Disorder, it's important to contact a professional for help because taking care of your health is the most important gift you can give yourself this holiday.