Mental health during the holidays

Seasonal Depression and ways to improve your Mental Health during the holiday season

Grace Leonardi, Online Reporter

As the weather gets colder and the clocks switch back, the snow falls from the sky, as does mental health for some people.

Seasonal depression or SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is defined as the feelings of loneliness, lack of interest or drive and passion for things, excessive tiredness, loss of appetite, mood swings and fatigue experienced in the fall months spanning approximately until the spring months. It’s much more common than one would imagine, and the effects are almost identical to those of clinical depression and/or other forms.

In a study shown in an article from “Psychology Today,” the author states that an estimated 10 million people in the United States alone are affected by SAD each year. 

It is found that seasonal depression is four times more common in women than in men, and that the most common “target age” is between 18 and 30 years old. Some cases are mild, but many are so severe they can be life threatening. 

“There are ways to recognize you have it, signs and symptoms of seasonal depression” Psychologist and Therapist Kym Carlson said. “There are little quizzes that can be taken. The ‘GAD 7‘ quiz can be used as an assessment.

If you find yourself scoring high or clicking “almost all the time” for many of the prompts or questions, it could be a signal that you may need to talk to somebody.  The first step for students struggling is talking to their school counselor.

If you know somebody struggling, Carlson suggests starting a conversation, and offering support and empathy. Ask them how you can help or if they need or want to talk; just in case they’re not ready to, which is a completely valid feeling. If asked, offer advice to the best of your ability.

One thing that many people find useful to clear their minds and cope with anxiety and depression is light therapy.”

— Kym Carlson

In simple terms, you don’t know their life or what’s going on with their emotions. Think before you speak, and don’t say anything stupid or anything you’ll regret later. Students you walk by each day could be struggling and cope in different ways.

I keep a journal and writing down my thoughts and feelings helps me deal with anxiety,” junior Annie Droelle said. “My best friend, Brooklynn Hathcock, is always there for me when I need to rant. She helps me deal with stress and anxiety.”

The holidays are a time that should be filled with joy and family, giving support to your loved ones is a key to keeping the season joyous and jolly.