People are lining up outside Wal-Marts and frantically scrolling through Amazon trying to find the perfect gift for their loved ones. This frenzied shopping can really only mean one thing: the holidays are in full swing. For a lot of people, the holidays bring festive parties and joy, but for others, this time of year can be a stressful time filled with lots of possible triggers and really painful mental health issues.
Even though it is generally put on the back-burner, mental health is just as important as physical health. Moreover, studies have shown that approximately ten million Americans suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as SAD. For most people, symptoms of SAD begin in the fall and are apparent through the winter; but, people can suffer from SAD in the spring and summer months, as well. Some symptoms of SAD include having low energy, not being able to concentrate, feeling worthless, burdensome, or guilt. Fall-winter SAD’s symptoms, more specifically, are oversleeping, appetite changes, weight gain, and tiredness. There is no known way to prevent Seasonal Affective Disorder, but if you try to manage symptoms early on, you may be able to keep symptoms from getting too bad. Some ways you can manage the symptoms of SAD are self-care, doctor-prescribed medications, and various forms of therapy.
Another important aspect of the holidays is the unfortunately apparent risk of relapse for people with eating disorders. Anxiety-induced triggers like forced social connectedness, encouraged indulgences, and being surrounded by food, can overwhelm people recovering from eating disorders. Also, holiday events are often food-centered, and when all of the focus is put on food, people can easily become overwhelmed. Some ways people can support themselves and others through the holidays are: develop a coping plan, maintain boundaries, asking for help and most importantly showing yourself kindness.
You are worthy of all the happiness and kindness in the world.
If you would like to read more about Seasonal Affective Disorders or the impact of the holidays on people with eating disorders, here are some great articles:
And, if you or a loved one need resources this holiday season, here are some links to websites that offer helplines:
Wishing you and your family a safe and happy holiday season,
Written by: Arran Davis
Edited by: Ricardo Corpus