The holidays are usually a time for joy and celebration. But, this merry season can be stressful for some folks. According to a poll by the American Psychiatric Association, Americans are five times more likely to say their level of stress increases rather than decreases (41% to 7%) during the holidays. Johns Hopkins Medicine experts can provide tips for managing your mental health amid the bustle of the holiday season.
The Holiday Blues and Seasonal Affective Disorder: What’s the difference?
For some people, the holidays can trigger feelings of sadness, loss and anxiety associated with stress, missing loved ones or negative feelings from past memories of the holidays. These feelings are considered the holiday blues, and are usually temporary.
However, when the holiday blues persist for a longer period of time, it could be seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of depression that can happen during certain seasons of the year, typically fall or winter. Symptoms may include low mood or anxiety that worsens in the winter, as well as changes in sleep, appetite and energy. SAD can impact a person’s ability to work, their social interactions and quality of life. Lindsay Standeven, M.D., and Paul Nestadt, M.D.