The word ‘holiday’ has several definitions; 1.) A day set aside by law to celebrate or commemorate something in history that happened on or near that specific date. 2.) In some regions, its derived from ‘Holy Day‘, and is defined as a day or days of a religious festival. 3.) In some countries it means ‘vacation’. So I guess when you think about it, ‘holiday’, is a pretty good word — A ‘happy’ word, so-to-speak, right? Now ‘depression’, on the other hand, is defined as 1.) Sadness; loneliness, unhappiness, and a sense of hopelessness. 2.) A psychiatric disorder; with symptoms of insomnia, dejection, hopelessness, and suicidal tendencies. 3.) An economic slump affected by unemployment and poverty. After looking at how these two words are defined, and to find that they’re practically opposites; it makes you wonder how can they come together during the ‘Holiday Season‘; a joyous time, and be defined as something so sad?
So what causes ‘Holiday Depression’? According to MedicineNet.com, a site created and maintained by real doctors, there are a number of contributing factors. Balancing the financial pressures of gift shopping, over-extended family obligations and commitments, the lost of a loved one, or the inability to be with a loved one or relatives are some of the more common factors that can create increased stress during the holidays and lead to Holiday Depression. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), is a recurring wintertime depression that is believed to be a sadness or reaction caused by shorter days, less sunlight, and colder temperatures. Symptoms of SAD may include; tiredness, crying, mood swings, lack of concentration, lower sex drive, irritability, and insomnia, and may extend beyond the holidays.
While I can definitely see how the symptoms of SAD can cause Holiday Depression, and as someone who often experiences the ‘holiday blues‘, I believe there are still other contributors as well. In my case, it has nothing to do with less sunlight, shorter days, or any of that; its two simple things; 1.) A sense of loneliness, not having that ‘special’ someone or significant other to spend the holidays with while almost everyone else does. 2.) The inability to do ‘more’ for family and friends; it seems like I’m never able to all I want for all I want to. Those are the two biggest things that gets me in dumps around the holidays — Every year, without failure.
So, now you’re probably asking, “Is there any way to treat or prevent SAD/Holiday Depression?” In many cases, your history and a physical exam are the only tools doctors need to diagnose SAD/Holiday Depression. Usually, eliminating stress is the best remedy for overcoming Holiday Depression. This could be done by being more involved in family activities during the holidays, spending more time outside, and making less commitments. Therapy, support groups, and counseling are other methods practiced and proven to rise above Holiday Depression, as well as traveling.
I’m really not too sure how to close this one out, I was more concerned with just getting it written because it had really been on my mind for a while, so I’ll just say that its Christmas Eve, and I wish you all a joyous and blessed Christmas tomorrow! Thanks for reading, I always appreciate your interest in my work.
— F. Kenneth Taylor
- this too shall pass – holiday depression (rawsilkandsaffron.wordpress.com)
- Five tips for those who have SAD(ness) this holiday season (blogs.vancouversun.com)