You flip through the pages of your new book, a book with 365 empty pages. It’s daunting as you’re unaware of what the pages will come to hold, but the blankness represents a new beginning, a beginning filled with hope and zeal. You have the opportunity to be in control of what goes on these new pages. You ponder on this thought as friends surround you and family, clinking wine glasses and sharing new year’s resolutions. Smiles, laughter, gleefulness. Despite the new book and being with your loved ones, something inside you seems missing, empty and soon enough you find yourself drowned in melancholy.
YOU’RE NOT ALONE.
A vast number of people feel depressed, anxious, and are victims of negative mood disorders during the holiday season. Studies have shown a positive correlation between seasonal holiday periods and increased rates of depression and suicide. While depression during the holiday season can be in various forms and shapes, it’s important to recognize the triggers
We live in an eminently connected era. This invites people to experience the bulk of their lives through social media. The problem is as viewers of social media, we only see the final picture: the picture that took 11 tries to come to life, the picture that went through an abundance of filters, the picture that sets an unnecessarily high standard. The truth is, behind every perfect picture there are struggles: eating disorders, split up families, toxic relationships. And every picture representing a holiday will have struggles too. The moment you stop comparing your holidays to unrealistic expectations is when you’ll realize that nothing is and ever will be perfect, and that’s ok.
Most of us slip back into our regular lives quite normally post-holidays and only experience what is called seasonal affective disorder (SAD) but what we fail to recognize is how our lifestyle choices are gradually pushing us into major depression. The bitter pill about our modern lives is that we have created a system and jobs that our minds and bodies refuse to partake in. We have pushed ourselves into little cubicles called offices, where we work day in day out with computers who don’t care about us, wear a tie that chokes our soul, and essentially our lives are reduced to a product we trade with big corporations for a bunch of shiny things we never needed. We eat unhealthy, stress too much, exercise way less than our ancestors did. Most of us end up with a second and third-hand version of life, an existence devoid of any natural momentum and passion to contribute, a life that is a recipe for all kinds of mental health problems.
As tempting, as it may appear to quit your job, this may not be the best solution but there are many things you can incorporate in your life to keep symptoms of depression at bay.
– FIND TIME FOR YOURSELF
Regularly engage in physical activities like sports or lifting weights, take care of the way you look and smell.
Meditate whenever you can. Studies have shown how mediation can increase serotonin levels in your body. Recognize that life is a finite entity with an expiration date on it, so prioritize your tasks and be reasonable with your expectations.
– FIND A LARGER PURPOSE
Find a purpose in life that goes beyond your work and family, find a mechanism that you feel connected to, and push yourself hard in it to find out what you are living is truly capable of doing to you.
– SPEAK OUT
Human beings are creatures of expression, you must speak about what you feel and think with someone, it can be a friend, family, or a counselor but talking is important, remember most of our problems in life could be fixed with an honest conversation.
– EAT CLEAN
The latest research shows that severe deficiencies in nutrients and essential vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids may contribute to depression and anxiety. Try and eat all your veggies and fruit, and if you can’t then use supplements to aid you.