Law enforcement officers, crisis counselors and mental health professionals have long observed that January 1 brings about a spike in depression-related symptoms among those who are already struggling. Being proactive about managing your mental health is the best way to make sure your recovery stays on track.
Reasons for Winter-Related Depression
Common reasons people feel blue after the holidays include the following:
● Colder temps zap your energy.
● The days are shorter, which means it’s more difficult to get out and socialize with friends or family.
● You’re worried about your finances after over indulging during the holidays.
● Your energy levels have dropped because you spent the holiday season indulging in sweets and fatty foods and neglecting quality nutrition.
These physical changes may also contribute to winter depression:
● Shorter days change your body’s circadian rhythms, making it harder to get the sleep you need.
● Reduced sunlight causes a drop in serotonin in the brain, which can lead to mood changes.
● The changing of the seasons causes a decrease in melatonin production, which affects both sleep and mood.
When weather-related depression symptoms are severe, they may be diagnosed as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
Combating the Winter Blues
If you believe you may suffer from SAD, your healthcare provider can help. Treatment may include light therapy (phototherapy), medications, and psychotherapy. If you’ve previously been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, you may need to have your treatment reevaluated. Winter often brings about depression in people with this condition.
Creative Ways to Battle the Winter Blues
● Make time for self-care. Sleep, exercise, and good nutrition do wonders for your mood. No matter how busy life gets, make time to take care of your own needs.
● Set realistic expectations. The act of making New Year’s resolutions can inspire you to dramatically overhaul your life, but it’s important to realize that big changes aren’t made overnight. This is particularly true if your resolutions relate to your sobriety. Recovery is a lifelong process. Take it one day at a time and celebrate the progress you’ve made toward creating a better life for yourself.
● Socialize. Attending support group meetings is a vital part of addiction recovery any time of year, but the social component of these events can be especially helpful during the winter months. When you connect with people who understand what you’re going through, you’ll feel less isolated.
Immersion Recovery: Providing Hope During Times of Trouble
Immersion Recovery is committed to helping you develop the skills necessary to live a full, rewarding life of sobriety. From detox and residential care, to outpatient and aftercare services, we’re here to support your recovery and deal with co-occurring depression or mood disorders. Call to speak with an Immersion addiction specialist at 561.419.3349, or inquire online about our programs.