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Understanding holiday and seasonal depression

It’s known as the “most wonderful time of the year,” but not everyone feels that way. There are some people who experience holiday or seasonal depression.

Counselors and mental health professionals say there’s an increase in depression during the holidays. Some factors are loneliness, association with negative past experiences and finances.

“Christmas is geared around gifts, giving people gifts and being able to give people gifts, and if you don’t have the financial means to be able to do that. I think that people take a personal reflection on themselves,” says Eric Pettingill, Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, Mental Wellness Centers.

There are some that only experience depression during the holidays and those already struggling with depression, it can make them feel worse.

“Depression can get worse for them, but the other part is just that it’s seasonal, there’s not a lot of sunshine. That pushes people into isolation which is not good for depression in itself,” says Pettingill.

Christmas music can also bring out these feelings.

“I think hearing Christmas music triggers emotional memories and events within a person.”

But there is a way you can combat these negative feelings.

“If growing up, their experiences with Christmas aren’t very positive, try to re-frame their personal experience personally and not associate it with Christmas was like for them growing up.”

Another way to cope, if you feel like you don’t fit the traditional holiday mold, start your own holiday traditions and celebrate your way.

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