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Gloomy weather and the stress of holidays can make the end of the year a time of depression for some

Poor weather and holiday stress can make holidays a challenging time, Columbia Pacific Coordinated Care Organization warns.

Social isolation is a major predictor of depression year-round, but even more so during the holidays, when social events with friends and family can make those with smaller social circles feel disconnected. Often, a press release from CPCCO explains, individuals feeling lonely can avoid social interactions, which can make negative emotions even more powerful. Reaching out to friends or family for support or talking to your doctor about your feelings and how to handle them, can help ease the social isolation.

Holidays can also be a particularly hard time for those grieving the loss of a loved one. CPCCO recommends starting a new tradition, getting out of the house, volunteering, and spending time in nature. At the same time, individuals should respect their own limits; it's okay to need time alone or not feel emotionally ready for an event.

Seasonal affective disorder is a type of depression that recurs seasonally, most commonly during the fall and winter. Talk to your doctor about your mood and energy level and how different variables, like seasons, seem to impact them. Practice self-care throughout the holidays by exercising, eating healthy meals, limiting alcohol consumption, and going to bed at a reasonable time. Primary care doctors can refer patients to mental health professionals, but do not wait for a referral if you are experiencing thoughts of suicide. (Despite a widespread myth that suicide rates increase during the holidays, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that the suicide rate is lowest in December.) If you experience thoughts of suicide, call 911, visit a hospital emergency room, or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.


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