You’re Not Alone if You’re Not Ready for a Holly Jolly Christmas
Remember, while Christmas is the time for most to be jolly, a lot of folks in Louisiana are feeling sad, stressed, depressed, and lonely. You're not alone!
What is Seasonal Depression?
Johns Hopkins Medicine defines Season Depression or SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) as a 'type of depression that happens during certain seasons of the year — most often fall or winter. It is thought that shorter days and less daylight may trigger a chemical change in the brain leading to symptoms of depression.' Cleveland Clinic says symptoms include feelings of sadness, lack of energy, loss of interest in usual activities, oversleeping, and weight gain.
Sadly, the holidays stress out a lot of people. Whether it's financial stress, missing a loved one, or the realization that you're alone, holiday depression is very real. Just remember, you're not alone. Balancing the demands of family and social obligations, shopping, work, house guests, etc... can be A LOT!
Here's the good news. You don't have to go to every party you're invited to. You also don't have to break the bank to buy gifts. Those closest to you will understand that things are a little tight for you. If they don't, well, it's time to rethink things.
Where can I get help for anxiety and depression in Louisiana?
If you're feeling stressed, overwhelmed, anxious, or depressed, you can also speak with a trained counselor by dialing 988 on your phone. We found some great tips from Maison Vie New Orleans on reducing the stress of the holidays.
According to KFF.org, in February 2023 alone, 39.1% of adults in Louisiana reported symptoms of anxiety and/or depressive disorder, compared to 32.3% of adults in the U.S. NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, says that 64% of people with mental illness report holidays make their conditions worse. Additionally, they found that during the holidays, more than two-thirds of respondents felt financially stressed and/or lonely. Considering that 17.3 million American adults have suffered from depression, you get the picture. Overall, which includes folks who haven't reported any mental illness, research has found that stress levels reportedly increase during the holiday season for 38% of people.
Ouch! If you ever feel like you need to talk and don't feel like you have anyone to talk to, call 988 or you can text "START" to 741-741 and a live, trained specialist will respond to you. I also invite you to join a church, and more specifically, Simple Church, where I'm a partner. I add that because connection and community can go a long way toward easing loneliness. It can be hard, I get it, I really do, but don't give up! YOU ARE WORTH IT!
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