Moving on from post holiday depression

When you’re dealing with post holiday depression, the new year can seem daunting. After the constant excitement, activity, planning, shopping, joy and stress of the holiday season, a blank calendar can feel a little empty and listless. How can you tell if you’re experiencing a case of the blues, or if your symptoms might be depression? And how can you deal with those symptoms to make this the best year yet?

sledding provides benefits of sunshine and exercise to sufferers of post holiday depression

What are the symptoms of post holiday depression?

For many people, the holidays are an emotional time. For weeks, you plan, shop, cook, wrap and prepare for big parties and spending time with family. Soon after, the presents are all unwrapped, the decorations are put away, bills are on the way and your visitors are back in their own homes. This fast transition is enough to make anyone feel out of sorts. But if you can’t shake the feeling of sadness after a few days, you might be experiencing post holiday depression. Depression of any variety, including seasonal depression, is a serious condition. There are many symptoms of depression, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, and could include a feeling of emptiness, loss of enjoyment in hobbies and activities, constant pessimism, restlessness, sleep disturbance and even difficulty concentrating. You may experience one or a combination of these — it varies from person to person. Keep an eye out for these telltale signs and take control of your symptoms before they become more serious.

If you’re experiencing thoughts of death or suicide, speak with your doctor immediately.

What should I do for post holiday depression?

There are several things you can do to take charge of your depression symptoms. With the new year, resolve to get plenty of exercise. According to Harvard Medical School, regular exercise improves your mood and its positive effects may even last longer than those of antidepressants. Getting more exercise doesn’t have to be an intimidating life change. Small alterations, like parking at the back of the lot and walking or window shopping at the mall for a few hours can add up.

Getting some extra vitamin D may also improve your mood, Harvard Medical School noted. Milk, fish, egg yolks and yogurt are all healthy sources of the vitamin. You can get your daily dose of vitamin D from the sun, so bundle up and go sledding or walk through a winter wonderland. Just remember to wear sunscreen, even in winter.

Leaning on your support system — your family and close friends — is important if you’re experiencing depression symptoms. Your family and friends can provide a little extra support when you’re feeling overwhelmed and can listen when you have a lot on your mind.

If you think you’re experiencing symptoms of depression, it’s a good idea to speak with your doctor. Self-treatment should never replace a doctor’s care. Your doctor can help put together a plan that works for you, which might include medication or professional therapy.

Learning about post holiday depression is an important first step in healing and starting your new year on a bright path. Speak with your doctor about your concerns, and resolve to take care of yourself.

Photo credit: Flickr

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