Is depression during the holidays a real thing?
Yes, it can be. Some people experience something called Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) with a seasonal pattern. This is what some people know as Seasonal Affective Disorder. It’s a clinical depression that tends to present itself beginning in late fall and can go on until early spring. It’s known to be linked with changes in light, so it’s more common in northern climates. Research shows that clinical depression with a seasonal pattern impacts as much as 6 percent of the population. But people who don’t normally struggle with depression can also have issues due to there being less daylight in the wintertime. The limited exposure to natural light can impact our body’s rhythms and neurochemical balance.
Can someone who normally does not suffer from depression be depressed over the holidays?
Yes. This may or may not be related to a diagnosis of MDD with a seasonal pattern. The holiday season comes with its own set of stressors and expectations, both internally and externally. Being overwhelmed by these holiday-related stressors can lead to symptoms of depression.
What triggers increased depression around the holidays?
The holiday season can be stressful. People are often busier. And trying to balance work and personal obligations can lead to more stress. It can also be a financially stressful time, since gift giving and events can take a toll on your wallet.
And while holidays are a time of joy, people sometimes have unrealistic expectations for how special something is going to be. This can lead to feelings of let-down later if those aren’t met. Similarly, people may be more likely to compare themselves to others during this time of year. It’s easy to look at someone’s holiday card and think their life is more perfect than it really is. This can lead to assuming everyone else around you is happy, and you’re the odd one out.
The holidays are also stereotypically a time to be surrounded by family or loved ones. This can bring up reminders of other emotions. There could be a family conflict that’s been going on for a while. Or, it could be the first holiday season after the passing of someone you love. That can re-trigger feelings of grief and loss, and be incredibly challenging.
How can acupuncture lower my holiday stress?
Studies show that most Americans report unhealthy levels of stress, and this time of year these stress levels are even worse. Acupuncture’s healing properties provide a safe, natural and cost-effective (sometimes covered by insurance!) treatment to reduce holiday stress. Here are just a few ways how….
Mood Enhancement. Between everyday worries and holiday stressors, it’s no wonder we suffer from mood swings. Acupuncture can offer significant relief in this department. With the application of acupuncture needles, your central nervous system becomes stimulated and releases endorphins and other chemicals that will lift your mood. This will lead to less anxiety and a more positive mindset.
Headache Relief. Do you suffer from holiday stress headaches? Acupuncturists treat this condition by carefully placing needles near specific nerves that offer a pain-reducing effect. Endorphins that relieve pressure are released and help with discomfort of recurring headaches and migraines.
Sleep Quality. Sleepless nights are often an unfortunate side effect to holiday stress. Acupuncture will help by increasing your body’s natural ability to produce melatonin – the hormone that regulates your sleep-wake cycles. It will help restore your natural ability to fall asleep (and remain asleep!).
Energy Boost. With all the holiday parties, events, and family get-togethers, it’s easy to feel sluggish and feeling sluggish doesn’t help in the stress department. Acupuncture can provide the energy boost you need as it fights off exhaustion, aids in balancing the body’s energetic field, and gets rid of “brain fog”. As a result, it leads to a state of ease, increased physical stamina, and mental clarity.
Interested in Acupuncture? Call Maria at Wellness Acupuncture (831) 477-9355