Are you experiencing the winter blues? Here’s why mental health worsens in January and how to manage it

For many of us, the start of a new year offers a clean break from the hectic end-of-year holiday schedules, giving us a chance to set resolutions and create.

But striving for such lofty goals goes against our instincts as humans, says Brianda Diaz de Leon, a licensed social worker at Dallas-based mental health firm Thriveworks.

The winter season – which brings cold weather and daylight – affects many. The pressure to accomplish more in January, combined with the fallout from the holiday season, can leave people struggling with their mental well-being, she said.

“We’re still kind of animals, and on the other hand (winter) is a period of sleep for us, so we feel more tired and exhausted,” Diaz de Leon said.

This is another time of year that makes it challenging for people and the ways they cope with the increasing stress.

While January presents a new set of challenges, mental health begins to decline toward the end of the year, Diaz de Leon said. In 2022 Many people were stressed After the vacationPartly due to rising Inflation, according to a study by the American Psychiatric Association.

“Sometimes the demands of our capitalist society and the capitalist holiday season are incompatible with being truly human,” Diaz de Leon said. A recent poll compiled by the APA In the year In 2022, the recession, gun violence and the Russia-Ukraine war contributed to Americans’ anxiety, he said.

During the holiday season, she says, people also have awkward conversations with family members they haven’t seen in a while. People who suffer from anxiety will feel residual shame because of these exchanges, which can continue in January.

“We’re at a point where the holiday season certainly comes with a shift in consciousness and perhaps political identity,” she said.

This year, Diaz de Leon said that she has noticed a high number of work-related and epidemic-related fires among her patients. In December 2022, the news of XBB diversity It has raised concerns among some customers as the global pandemic enters its third year.

“Most of my clients are having a very difficult time,” she said. We are optimistic, but going back is harder than before.

Many employees use their paid vacation time to celebrate the end of the year. But returning to the office comes with the “PTO blues” and adjusting to the stresses of regular life, Diaz de Leon said.

“Once January comes around, the holiday season is over,” she said. Many of us now have to face the consequences of the financial decisions we make.

Unrealistic New Year’s resolutions can contribute to feelings of failure and depression, and can peak around mid-January.

“By the middle of the month, we’re realizing our New Year’s resolutions are probably out of reach, and many of us are falling off the wagon,” she said. “So there’s a lot of guilt and shame to add to the stress we already feel.”

Periodic Active Disorder, Recurrent, seasonal depression that peaks in fall and winterIt can play a role in reducing the level of mental health in January. SAD affects about 10 million people in the United States, and women are more likely to be diagnosed. According to psychology today.

Diaz de Leon advises people to engage in self-care, which includes staying hydrated, eating a balanced diet, getting enough sleep, and getting some exercise.

“What I mean by engaging in self-care is literally taking care of yourself, just making sure we’re getting enough food, and that our meals are rich in the nutrients and calories we need, especially during the winter months,” she said.

For those who work from home and lead a sedentary lifestyle, it’s important to move throughout the day, whether it’s walking or doing a five-minute stretch.

And when it comes to New Year’s goals, she recommends that people break down their goals into months or quarters to better manage their expectations.

“If your goal is to open your office by the end of 2023, we can break it down into quarterly goals so we can better track what’s going on,” says Diaz de Leon.

If you’re struggling with the winter blues or any other mental illness, There is help. If you are in trouble, seek immediate help and call 911 or the suicide prevention hotline at 988. A short text line for problems is also available by texting SIGNS to 741741 for free, anonymous advice.

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