To be honest, not everyone revels in the holiday cheer that comes along with the season of change. Quite the contrary. Some battle with depression more during the holidays than any other time. Part of that can be contributed to Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. If this is you, just know you’re not alone.
According to Health Research Funding, it’s estimated that SAD will affect 10 million Americans every year. What exactly is SAD?
SAD is best defined as a disorder that occurs when seasons change and is most prevalent in the onset of the fall and winter months. During this time, one may experience a peak in irritability, anxiety and depression. This is most common in women and can start as early as age 20.
Apart from the disorder’s definition, the demands of the holiday season itself can cause a shift in emotional stability. From dealing with family, balancing finances and fulfilling obligations, there’s enough stress to create the feelings of hopelessness and self-pity.
Despite how common SAD may be, there is still hope that you can experience some emotional normalcy during this time. I’ve compiled six practical tips to help you battle the effects of SAD this holiday season.
- Fix your focus. It all starts in your mind. What you think is a reflection of what you say, and what you say has the power to shape how you feel. Instead of focusing on what brings you down, shift your focus to what lifts you up. I instruct all my coaching clients to practice speaking positive self-affirmations.
- Create a new tradition. There is no written rule governing how holidays must be handled. Do something you’ve never done before. Travel somewhere you’ve never been. Shift the usual holiday paradigm.
- Give back. Volunteer your time and services to others who may be less fortunate or in need of assistance this year. Performing good deeds or random acts of kindness is a reward and an emotional confidence-builder by itself.
- Avoid isolation. There is a strong propensity to seclude yourself during this time. Don’t overextend your energy with being surrounded by too many people, but choose the company of those whose presence brings you peace.
- Don’t overdo it! Don’t exhaust and stretch yourself thin this season. If you don’t have the money, don’t spend it. If you can’t do it, don’t force it.
- Practice self-care. Self-care is more than soaking in bubble baths with bath bombs. This includes seeking help when necessary. If your battle with depression and emotional distress seems ongoing or unbearable, seek professional help. There are many resources and tools available to you, but you must be willing to acknowledge you need the help and accept it.
Become intentional about finding ways to fully enjoy what this time of year brings. Don’t allow the negativity you feel to steal away these moments.
Destiny Kingcannon is a speaker, life coach, author and CEO of Destiny Inspire LLC. Learn more at www.destinyinspire.com, and follow her @destiny_inspire on Instagram; @destinyinspire on Facebook; and @destinyInspire1 on Twitter.