5 tips to beat the post-holiday blues
Now that the holiday season has ended, some people may be feeling the post-holiday blues. The holidays usually present an adrenalin rush that comes with an enormous amount of demands — from attending holiday parties to shopping, baking and entertaining. And now that the holiday hullabaloo has come to a screeching halt you may find yourself feeling a bit depressed.
The post-holiday blues can stem from the after effects of overeating, overspending and feeling alone. Now, that your house guests have left and for an empty-nester your children may have returned to school and you may find yourself feeling lonely.
This type of post-holiday blues also referred to as adjustment disorder or situational depression, usually occurs after a major life change, loss or event. Statistically, situational depression rises during Thanksgiving through New Year’s. Post-holiday blues is now recognized within the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the registry of mental disorders used by mental health care professionals.
“A person suffering from post-holiday depression can experience loss of energy, trouble concentrating, fatigue, increased appetite, increased desire to be alone, sleepiness and weight gain,” says Dr. Evaldas Radzevicius, psychiatrist, at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Ill.
So, here are five tips from Dr. Radzevicius to help you fight the post-holiday blues:
- Plan on eating healthier—We’ve probably all overeaten during the holiday, so don’t beat yourself up over it. Make a commitment to eat healthier. Studies show that just 20 minutes of moderate daily activity, like going for a walk, can elevate mood and reduce anxiety.
- Set a budget—Start the New Year off by making a budget and sticking to it. This can help alleviate stress and get you back on target if you over spent during the holidays.
- Stay connected—If you are alone, reach out to others and find an organization to volunteer for throughout the year. This will help combat the isolation you are feeling and give you a sense of purpose when helping others.
- Take your vitamins—Persistent fatigue and sleepiness can be a hallmark of vitamin deficiencies. So, it’s also a good idea to supplement multivitamins, particularly vitamin D, since we have very limited sun exposure during the winter.
- Seek professional help—If you find that situational depression persists and is becoming unbearable, professional help is available and treatment is not necessarily limited to drugs. Counseling, support groups, and light therapy are also effective for treating depression symptoms.
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health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.