Humans are tribal creatures. We need each other and have a deep evolutionary reason to gang up. Survival. We literally needed people around us to live. In the modern world, though, people are often isolated or may just feel isolated, which is just as painful. That combined with the darkness of winter can make the holidays a depressing time for so many.
It's called seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. And, yes, that's also how a person feels when they are faced with months of short, dark days. It's a condition that affects about three million people a year. According to the Mayo Clinic, the cause may have to do with a decrease in serotonin and/or melatonin levels that come with less light.
Signs and symptoms of SAD may include:
- Feeling depressed most of the day, nearly every day
- Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
- Having low energy
- Having problems with sleeping
- Experiencing changes in your appetite or weight
- Feeling sluggish or agitated
- Having difficulty concentrating
- Feeling hopeless, worthless or guilty
- Having frequent thoughts of death or suicide
Very often, depression leads to social withdrawal. But you know what is one of the most uplifting remedies? Being social. This holiday season find a tribe and get outside.