The holiday season can often be an emotional rollercoaster. Many people go into a funk or depression after all of the holiday hoopla winds down and find it difficult to function normally in their daily routine. Holiday blues, holiday depression or post-Christmas blues, these commonly used terms depict the mental distress occurring after the winter holiday season. Post-holiday depression can impact anyone, but it can be extremely likely for those with a current diagnosis of depression.

Post-holiday depression can occur because of a variety of factors. Perhaps, the holidays were not as festive or celebratory as expected, your plans fell through, or expectations simply were not met. There may be guiltiness over spending too much money, drinking or overeating. Also, you might feel guilty because, perhaps, you did not attend an even that you were expected to. It is important to realize that we are not alone with these feelings. However, you do not have to let the holiday blues get you down. Here are some strategies experts suggest to survive the blues and get back on track for the new year:

  1. Expect some letdown
  2. Choose to see the benefits of post-holiday time
  3. Be gentle on yourself—especially with respect to New Year resolution(s)
  4. Keep being around people, 5. Choose activities to help you look forward to something
  5. Make healthy food & exercise choices
  6. Make this a time for possibly getting professional help and turning things around that have been bothering you
  7. Expect to enjoy the year ahead

The more severe form of post-holiday syndrome or post-Christmas blues is referred to as depression. It is important to recognize the signs of major depression which include:

  • Feeling depressed, sad and discouraged
  • Loss of interest in once pleasurable and enjoyable activities
  • Eating more or less than usual, or weight gain/loss
  • Having trouble sleeping, or sleeping more than usual
  • Feeling slow or restless
  • Lack of energy
  • Feeling hopeless, helpless, or inadequate
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty thinking clearly or making decision
  • Persistent thoughts of death or suicide
  • Withdrawal from others and lack of interest in sex

Clinical depression is an illness of persistent sadness and difficulty with normal functioning. It is not attributed to normal holiday reaction. Seek professional help if you experience many of these symptoms or if you are concerned that you might be suffering from depression.

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