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Coping with holiday depression and winter blues at work and home





Are you stressed? Feeling down about your work situation or your personal life?

This is a tough time of year. Many people suffer from the winter blues. 

At work, many of us feel disappointed we aren't getting a year-end bonus, or we haven't received a promotion, or we didn't make that move to a better job like we thought we would when 2017 started.  At home, we feel a general sense of sadness that's difficult to explain. 

Coping with the loss of a loved one or tight work deadlines, end-of-year workplace pressure and the reduced level of sunlight in fall and winter are all factors that may contribute to a person’s depression during the holidays.

If we give in to our feels of depression or sadness, it can make the last few weeks of the year awful at work and at home. 

So today, my guest blogger offers some help. 

Ketamine_hr-0560Dr. Francisco Cruz, lead psychiatrist at
Ketamine Health Centers, suggests five ways to minimize seasonal depression and increased anxiety that tends to onset in the fall and continues into the winter months. Cruz is double board certified in general psychiatry and addiction medicine. He has been practicing psychiatry for 13 years. Ketamine Health Centers successfully treat patients everyday living with depression,
suicidal ideation, PTSD, among other mental and chronic pain conditions.

1.Keep your goals in perspective and communicate. If your work situation is causing your depression to worsen, ask your supervisor what you  can do differently to secure the next promotion. Be mindful of his/her feedback and create a personal checklist of action items that will lead to enhanced professional development going forward.

2. Plan ahead. Anxiety and depression often go hand in hand. Adding holiday parties and gift gathering to your already busy schedule can lead to increased anxiety.Have a set plan in mind to help keep yourself from feeling overwhelmed by too many simultaneous responsibilities.

3. Be prepared for something to go wrong. Entertaining guests can also present emotional challenges. It is difficult to control everyone, but for your own sake, it is best to mentally prepare yourself for holiday “hiccups.” This can include your guests arriving late or a prepared dish burning. 

4. Practice extra self-care.  Sweets are a temptation and can derail your diet and workout routine, while also causing irritability and moodiness. Indeed, a study conducted by Columbia University Medical Center, concluded that refined foods such as white bread, white rice and soda can trigger hormonal responses in the body to reduce blood sugar levels. These responses may cause mood changes, fatigue, and other signs of depression.  Even throughout the holiday mayhem, strive to make time for yourself and don’t neglect your health. Great ways to stay on track is by limiting the amount of desserts you consume, sleeping for seven to eight hours per night, squeezing in time for the gym.

5. Monitor alcohol consumption. Too much alcohol can make the winter blues even worse. Drink festively, not to get drunk or alter your mood. 

6. Breakaway from the stereotypes: If you are trying to meet a certain expectation about the “correct” way holidays should be celebrated, you are setting yourself up for disappointment.

7. Be okay with feeling some sadness.  The holiday season can come at a time when you may have experienced a traumatic event or an anniversary of a loved one’s death. These reasons can easily generate an increase in distress. Know that it is okay to put all of the celebrations on hold to reflect on the healing process. Through your grieving, aim to remember the good memories in a positive light.

8. Don’t be a lone soldier: Talk to someone that you trust -- a family member or a close friend --who can lend a listening ear. You can also seek therapy. People often avoid seeking professional help because of their concern about judgment by others. The greatest misconception is believing that therapy is only for those on the verge of losing sanity.  The process of overcoming trauma or dealing with grief or depression can be difficult. With the help of an expert, feelings can often be better navigated in a healthy manner.

Wishing everyone good mental health during the holidays and in the new year!