Northern Health offers up tips for coping with ‘Seasonal Blues’

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PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. — Some call it the most wonderful time of the year, but for more people than you’d think, the winter months and holiday season can bring about feelings of depression and anxiety.

“The demands that many place on themselves to attend to and meet the expectations of others may contribute to anxiety and stress,” says Northern Health Clinical Educator Damen DeLeenheer.

“On top of all of this, the shorter days and longer nights can lead to Seasonal Affective Disorder, making the holiday season even more difficult to enjoy.”

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He says family traditions, festivities and financial problems can be big contributors to those adverse feelings.

“If maintaining a tradition isn’t making anyone happy, consider letting it go and creating a new one,” he adds. “This is your holiday, and not the Griswold’s.”

In regards to finances, he says the expenses of the holidays can bring on stress, especially when the billed are tallied in the New Year.

“Setting a budget and tracking how closely you are keeping it can help reduce stress associated with finances.”

If you think you may have Seasonal Affective Disorder, or someone you know may have it, DeLeenheer suggests you ask yourself the following questions: ‘Over the past two weeks, have you experienced little interest in doing things? Have you been feeling down, depressed or hopeless?’ If the answer is yes for more than half of the days, he urges considering some support.

Northern Health also suggests a healthy diet, staying active, and spending more time outdoors in the sunlight to help combat seasonal affective disorder during the dark, cold winter months.

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