The Yuletide Season is the most wonderful time of the year for money but, not for everyone!
Holiday Blues is the common term associated with the depression experienced during this season. Its symptoms include sadness, anxiety, insomnia, intestinal problems, and headache. An individual can feel the blues due to eating or sleeping unhealthily, accepting the exaggerated Christmas advertisements by the media, comparing yourself with others, setting unrealistic expectations, and the lacking exposure to sunlight.You read that right! Increased colder days and decreased warm days can take a toll on someone.
If you have a tendency to start feeling the blues when the ber months approach and those negative feelings do not seem to subside after the holiday season is over then, you may have a unique form of depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). It is more than just your average Holiday Blues as it persists longer and it can be felt during other seasonal changes.
The root cause of SAD is still a mystery. However, researchers have hypothesized that it can be connected to the circadian rhythm or the hormonal imbalance. A study by the neuroscientists of John Hopkins University showed that our eyes have a set of photoreceptors for monitoring light levels. These photoreceptors are believed to be associated with how we respond to light in a “non-visual” manner. For instance, light acts as the pacemaker of our body clock or as a tool that affects our mood.
Hormonal imbalance kicks in due to the observation that low levels of serotonin, a hormone that is primarily in charge of mood, is a result of higher levels of “transporter protein” in people who suffered from SAD. Researchers stated that sunlight can naturally increase the levels of serotonin in the brain. The only problem is that sunlight is hard to come by during the Ber Months (September until December).
What is even worse is that PAGASA (Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration) warned the public last month about the possibility of developing La Niña during the Ber Months. This may potentially heightened the blues felt my some people.
It is important that you address the early signs and symptoms of SAD before it becomes worse. Handle the situation by following these simple tips:
1. Embrace the Daylight
Get as much daylight as you can by waking up early and savoring the sun’s rays while you sit near the window.
Turn your home into a brighter haven by keeping the curtains or blinds open during the day. You may also paint the walls in vibrant colors. Although, a cheaper alternative is to purchase a wallpaper.
2. Laugh More
Filipinos are known for their sense of humor that trumps the most unfortunate of times. Having this trait works to our favor as laughter has been shown to be beneficial. Just recall how many times you heard the phrase: “laughter is the best medicine”. Laughter has a positive effect toward the mood because it increases the brain’s levels of serotonin. Laugh a little more and receive the spirit of the Christmastime.
3. Engage in Fun-tivities
Instead of exhausting all your vacation leave during the summer, spare a few days for the colder months. Taking a break from your work or studies can help ease the sadness that you are feeling. Do some of the activities that make you happy such as watching a romantic-comedy flick or swimming in the beach.
Volunteering for a good cause may lead to positive reciprocity that helps improve your mood. I can simply recall how fulfilled I felt when I celebrated my birthday with the delightful children of Mango House Philippines. Here are some of them:
4. Get Massaged
Another alternative that you can employ is to have a full body massage or hilot. A literature review from the University of Miami School of Medicine found that having a massage can increase your serotonin levels. Who knew that a relaxing day at the spa can help knock down the symptoms of SAD blues!
5. Consider Professional Help
If you suffer from severe holiday blues, it is best to consult a healthcare provider such as a Psychologist or a Psychiatrist. A qualified professional will be able to pinpoint whether your symptoms are related to SAD or not. This said professional can employ light therapy to help you recover.
Light therapy exists in many forms. Several devices used for light therapy include handy light boxes, specialized light lamps, and battery-powered visor.
The Yuletide Season is the most wonderful time of the year for money but, not for everyone! It is your job to detect holiday blues and SAopD as early as possible. Then, employ efficient strategies that will help improve your mood before your condition worsens.