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Bad Days or Holiday Blues?

December 14, 2017

The buildup of the holidays, the stress of buying gifts, and the dropping temperatures can add up to a lot of feelings of pressure. We all have bad days, but why does it seem like everyone is brimming with holiday cheer lately while you can barely muster a season’s greeting? Your melancholy may be due to one or more of the following:

When it’s more than sadness

Seasonal Affective Disorder: Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that is very common during the dark days of winter. In fact, more than three million cases are reported each year in the U.S. Seasonal affective disorder usually begins in the fall and continues through the winter months. SAD is primarily attributed to the lack of daylight during wintertime and is seldom found in countries where the sun shines year-round. If you find yourself feeling fatigued, depressed, hopeless, and withdrawn during this time of year, you may have SAD.

Stress: It’s dark by the time you leave work. You’re fretting about finishing holiday decorating, cleaning your house, and in-laws coming into town. Your child’s wish list surpasses your budget and your significant other is pining away for a new big screen TV. Plus, your to-do list is growing faster than you can cross items off of it. No wonder you’re feeling stressed! Symptoms of stress include:

  • Low energy
  • Headaches
  • Upset stomach, including diarrhea, constipation, and nausea
  • Aches, pains, and tense muscles
  • Chest pain and rapid heartbeat
  • Insomnia
  • Frequent colds and infections

Anxiety: Anxiety can be yet another unwanted holiday visitor. While it could be easily mistaken for the holiday blues, but anxiety is a very real condition. Many people find entertaining, travel, socializing, and even shopping stressful events on their own. Combine all of these stressors together and you have a recipe for misery, especially in those who are already prone to anxiety. Signs that you are suffering from anxiety include:

  • Nervousness or tension
  • Feelings of danger, panic, or dread
  • Rapid breathing, heart rate or hyperventilation
  • Sweating, trembling, or muscle twitching
  • Difficulty focusing or thinking clearly
  • Insomnia
  • Digestive or gastrointestinal problems, such as gas, constipation, or diarrhea

The good news is that you don’t have to suffer with SAD-ness, stress, or anxiety during the winter season. Treatment options are available. If you’re experiencing symptoms from one or more of these conditions that won’t go away, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional at Edgewater Health right away by calling 219-885-4264.