The Holiday Blues Are a Real Thing. 8 Ideas to Get Over Them!

Yes, the holiday blues are a real thing. It’s something that I really didn’t understand until someone close to me got them. I really couldn’t understand it. I love this time of year – all the decorations and lights and music.  All of it puts a great big smile on my face. But I felt I needed to be more understanding of what they were going through so I decided to do some research. Here’s what I found out.

The holidays are supposed to be the happiest time of the year, yet for many, they trigger deep feelings of sadness and anxiety. There’s so much emphasis on family and celebration, but it’s hard if you’re dealing with difficult memories or reminders that you’re not close to your family. Add cold weather and lack of sunlight and those are conditions to put some into a funk.

The good news: Seasonal doldrums tend to fade once the festivities are over (and if they don’t, consider seeking professional help). In the meantime, here are some tips to help you improve your mood over the next few weeks:

  1. Seek social support

Hibernation and isolation can feed a depressed mood. Surround yourself with friends, even if you don’t feel like it. Not only are you distracting yourself from your possibly blue thoughts, but being out with others provides you with opportunities for pleasure and joy.

  1. Get to the gym

Resist any excuse not to go, Or make a bargain with yourself that you only have to exercise for 10 minutes. Your heart rate will start to rise, and most likely you’ll stick it out longer because you’re already there.

  1. Don’t look at social media (Facebook, Instagram etc.)

Even though you know that most people only post their happiest moments on social media, it’s easy to lose perspective and get a serious case of FOMO (fear of missing out).

4. Help Others

Help others not because you should, but because it is the best antidote to self-pity and seasonal sadness. Find someone who is struggling more than you are, lend them a helping hand, and remember the real meaning of the holidays.

5. Stop by a place of worship

Drop into a Christian church or Muslim mosque or Jewish synagogue or Hindu template or…you get the idea. Sometimes just sitting in sacred space can remind you of the true meaning of the holidays. Most places of worship welcome all people, even those just looking for a touch of grace in the midst of a stressful day. Instead of hurrying by that church you have passed a hundred times on the way to work, take a moment to enter its doors and sit quietly, imbibing the atmosphere and the prayers of its members.

6. Forgive

Forgiveness is the slave that heals a broken spirit. Forgive all sorts of people this holiday season—those from your past, your work, your family and the ones in the news whom you love to hate. Read the stories of people (like Martin Luther King Jr. or Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Committee) who have used forgiveness to move mountains. If they can do it, so can we.

7.  Love

Everything. Love it all. Even the hard times; even the cranky and crooked people of the world; even yourself, with all of your appalling shortcomings.

 

 

8. Do something creative and flow-inducing that’s holiday-related.

  • If you enjoy writing, brainstorm a list of words that remind you of the holidays and write a short story using as many of those words as you can. Some words you can use are the following: snow; tinsel; presents; bells; angels; Santa Claus; family; ornaments; turkey; tree; cinnamon; carols; red and green; manger; winter; glitter; star; reindeer.
  • Also for writers, write an acrostic poem using the word “Christmas”, or another holiday-related word. (An acrostic is a poem in which the first letters of each line spell out a word or phrase.)
  • If you enjoy music, compose a holiday song, make a video of you singing it, and put it up on YouTube.
  • If you enjoy drawing, make your own holiday cards.
  • If you enjoy cooking or baking, bake lots of Christmas cookies and share them with whoever looks like they need a cookie. Or, try a new recipe to make on Christmas Eve.

After doing my research I know I just need to be there and now I can make suggestions. Or partake in some of these activities and ask them to join me. I think the best solution for the holiday blues is to do something special for someone else.

Nancy Boardman
December 6, 2017

Functional Endocrinology of Ohio
Akron: 2800 S. Arlington Road, Akron, Ohio 44312 (330) 644-5488
Cleveland: 6200 Rockside Woods Blvd., Ste. 100, Independence, Ohio 44131 (216) 236-0060
Dr. Keith S. Ungar, Dr. David Hardy, Dr. Joseph Little, Chiropractic Physicians

To schedule an appointment, click here.

Websites referenced: http://www.oprah.com/spirit/10-ways-to-beat-the-holiday-blues
https://daringtolivefully.com/beat-the-holiday-blues

Are You Seasonally Sad? 10 Ways to Know!

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Seasonal Affective Disorder is Not Just a Winter Sport!

♫ ♬ ♪ If your happy and you know it clap your hands…Clap Clap…..If your happy and you know it clap your hands….Clap Clap……If your happy and you know it then your face will surely show it.   If your happy and you know it clap your hands…Clap Clap! ♪ ♫ ♬[1]   What is the opposite of happy?  That’s right!!  SAD.  But, I’m not here to talk about your feelings.  I am here to discuss a far more concerning topic when it comes to the word S.A.D..
What is S.A.D?  The acronym S.A.D. stands for seasonal affective disorder.  “Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), also know as winter depression, winter blues, summer depression, summertime sadness, or seasonal depression, is a mood disorder subset where people who have normal mental health throughout most of the year experience depressive symptoms in the summer or winter.”[2]  The acronym SAD was coined in a brilliant decade, the 80’s, by an MD named Normal Rosenthal.  His early publication on the DIS-EASE gave the acronym SAD quick notoriety in the allopathic world.  He was able to treat the DIS-EASE simply with light therapy!!  In that study, it was concluded that light helped brain wave frequencies to shift gears into delta brain waves, or deep sleep waves. This proved to reduce SAD symptoms!  [Click to Tweet]
Fortunately, I do not suffer from SAD.    I have caught cabin fever a time or two, but have come through it pretty quickly.   Unfortunately though, I do have many patients who suffer from seasonal effects on their neurological systems and their biochemistry.  In fact, SAD affects around 14 million Americans, according to author and SAD specialist Norman Rosenthal, M.D., in his book Winter Blues.[3] People can experience a variety of symptoms associated with SAD.   According to Emily Lockhart,[4] signs may include the following:
  1. Disabling Fatigue
  2. Withdrawal from life
  3. Lack of focus
  4. Sleep Difficulties
  5. Disheartened and Deflated
  6. Muscles and Joint Pain
  7. Irritability
  8. Weight and Appetite
  9. Anxiety
  10. Recklessness
One of the main treatments used is light therapy to help balance the seasonal effects of the disorder.  Many theories exist on why light therapy may help.  What we do know is that light works on the pineal gland of the central nervous system.  Sun-gazing is one way to getting the light needed to help combat the winter or summer blues.   This is an unfamiliar ancient technique according to EarthClinic.[5] Sun gazing, a practice also know as sun eating, is a strict regiment of gradually allowing sunlight into your eyes at specific periods of the day.  [Click to Tweet]  Now don’t take this as an excuse to stare at the sun.  This can actually be harmful to the retina of the eye and cause permanent damage.  This practice must be taught by a competent practitioner to assure you do not damage these sensitive organs.
Proper nutrition and supplementation can also help boost the mood in the winter and hot summer months.   I have found with my patients that Vitamin D is also an excellent vitamin of choice when staving off the seasonal blues.  Consult you primary care doctor for any further recommendations.
Everyone has good and bad days and most are not caused by seasonal affective disorder.  So next time you get to feeling down in the summer or winter months, remember that, “You can’t enjoy a sunny day without a rainy day”[6]
What do you do for the rainy day blues?
Dr. Andrew Kender, D.C.
June 24, 2015
www.balancingyourchemistry.com
To Schedule a Free Consultation on What You Can Do for Your S.A.D., click here.
Functional Endocrinology of Ohio
Akron: 2800 S. Arlington Road, Akron, Ohio 44312 (330) 644-5488
Cleveland: 6200 Rockside Woods Blvd., Ste. 100, Independence, Ohio 44131 (216) 236-0060
Dr. Keith S. Ungar, Dr. David Starkey and Dr. Andrew Kender, Chiropractic Physicians

[1] Credited to Dr. Alfred B. Smith
[2] Ivry, Sara (August 13, 2002). Seasonal Depression can Accompany Summer Sun. The New York Times. Retrieved September 6, 2008
[3] http://www.psychcentral.com/…/are you sad this winter
[4] http://www.activebeat.com/your-health/do-i-suffer-from-seasonal-affective-disorder/6/
[5] www.earthclinic.com
[6] -Anonymous