The Realities of Seasonal Affective Disorder: Gen Z’s Guide To Coping and Surviving Seasonal Blues

Nothing wrong with seeking help in the holiday season and all-year round.

Hey, it’s essential to not just focus on the festivities but also check in on our emotional and mental well-being.

Related: 7 Ways You Can Support Your Friend Who Is Struggling Mentally

Trigger Warning: This content discusses Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and coping strategies. It may contain descriptions of symptoms that could be triggering for individuals sensitive to mental health-related topics. Reader discretion is advised.

The last strains of holiday tunes have faded, yet for some, the lingering essence of the break persists—though not in the cheerful way one might expect. Beyond the tinsel and glitter, it’s crucial to acknowledge that for many, this time isn’t all about merry moments.

In the words of Andy Williams, ‘It’s the most wonderful time of the year,’ but let’s face it, that’s not everyone’s reality. Enter Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a term coined to capture the emotional strains experienced during this phase, as highlighted by Mind You Philippines, a mental health platform.

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

According to the National Mental Health Institute, SAD manifests as a recurring depressive episode persisting for at least two consecutive years without any discernible shift in circumstances. In the Philippines, SAD typically surfaces during the rainy season or the onset of December.

Yuri Marshal, co-founder of Mind You, unveils the stark contrast between the festive season’s veneer of family, love, and the raw realities experienced by many. These societal expectations often act as stress catalysts, amplifying the influence of SAD on individuals who find themselves disconnected from the superficial charm of the season.

The Symptoms of SAD

Amidst the gift-giving rush and festive chaos, mental health gurus are urging us to focus on more than just the glitz and glamour. It’s a gentle reminder to keep tabs on our emotional well-being and that of our loved ones during these intense times. While some bask in the warmth of family gatherings, others might be navigating trickier family dynamics that trigger stress. And let’s not forget those among us who’ve recently lost loved ones—those cheerful gatherings might sting more than shine.

So, how can you tell if you or someone you care about might be grappling with SAD? Mind You lays it out: look out for signs like feeling persistently low and drained, grappling with a sense of hopelessness, struggling to concentrate, feeling jittery or sluggish, disrupted sleep, avoiding social situations, and perhaps even seeking comfort in overeating.

Surviving the Seasonal Blues

If you or someone you know is going through these struggles, remember—you’re not alone, and support is out there. It’s crucial to understand that there’s absolutely no shame in feeling less than joyful during this season. Prioritizing sensitivity and compassion for ourselves and others becomes key. Sometimes, stepping back from the grand, overwhelming celebrations for more intimate gatherings or a heartfelt one-on-one chat can make a world of difference. Tucking into nutritious meals amid the feast-fest might also give our spirits a much-needed boost. And hey, a purposeful stroll to soak in some sunshine on those gloomy days could work wonders for our moods.

So, for anyone going through these challenges, these seemingly small acts of self-care and reaching out can make an immeasurable difference. It’s these thoughtful actions that often carry the most weight in elevating our emotional well-being during this season of highs and lows.

All About Mind You

When these self-care tricks aren’t enough, Mind You has your back with a bunch of services designed to offer that extra care during this sensitive time of year. Their mobile app, available on both Android and Apple devices, offers free activities to navigate through complex emotions. Plus, you can book affordable sessions with Mind You’s partner psychiatrists and psychologists right through the app.

Remember, seeking help is nothing to feel embarrassed about. Making the holidays a bit safer and more considerate for everyone might just be the best gift we can give ourselves and our loved ones this season.

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