Coping with Valentine’s Depression
The winter months are hard enough. Lack of sunshine and colder temperatures lead to higher occurrences of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Throw in Valentine’s day and it’s enough to impact anxiety, depression, and other mental health concerns.
In particular, Valentine’s Day is meant to be a day of joy and romance. For those who spend the day alone, a day dedicated to love can heighten feelings of loneliness. Whether you’ve been through a recent divorce, separation, break up, or you’re dealing with constant disappointment in your love life, the days leading up to and following Valentine’s Day can prove stressful and overwhelming.
What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is recognized as a Major Depressive Disorder. SAD becomes prevalent during the winter months as the days become shorter and colder temperatures. Lack of sunshine and being cooped up indoors during these cold winter months can trigger low mood, fatigue, and lack of motivation.
In particular, SAD impacts individuals suffering from anxiety and depression during the holiday season, extending from Thanksgiving to Valentine’s Day. SAD’s signs and symptoms can start as mild and, when left unmanaged, can become more severe as the season progresses.
Tips for Managing Mental Health Around Valentine’s Day
For individuals who already feel lonely or like they will never find “the one,” an influx of jewelry ads, red roses, and candy hearts can intensify feelings of loneliness, anxiety, and depression. Valentine’s Day can also be particularly challenging for those individuals who feel they can not openly express their love (such as members of the LBGTQ+ community or those in biracial or bicultural relationships). However, it’s within your power to challenge the stereotypes surrounding Valentine’s Day.
- Practice self-love: Valentine’s Day is a day of love, which includes self-love. Whether it’s a relaxing bath, a scenic hike, or buying yourself a beautiful bouquet of flowers or a small gift, treat yourself. Prepare your favorite meal and watch your favorite movie. Consider it a mental health day to recharge your batteries.
- Enrich other connections in your life: Valentine’s Day may be about celebrating love, but there is no rule saying you can’t spend it with the family and friends you love! Reach out to the people in your life who fill your life with joy and happiness. Call or Facetime a relative who lives out of town. Schedule a socially distanced dinner with your friends. The idea is to surround yourself with the love you have in your life.
- Focus on the love you give to others: Helping others makes us feel better. Studies show that giving can actually boost your physical and mental health. Whether it’s volunteering at a local food bank, walking the dogs at the local SPCA, or visiting residents at the local nursing home, committing to acts of kindness produces a host of benefits. Researchers also say that people who give their time to help others in their communities experience higher levels of self-esteem, lower stress, depression levels, and greater happiness and satisfaction compared to those who don’t.
Characteristics of Depression
Most of us experience periods of sadness at some point in our lives. We may even feel like we are a failure or as if our life is lacking meaning. However, when these feelings become constant and debilitating, you or your loved one may be suffering from depression. Depression treatment can help individuals and their loved ones tackle their depression to move forward with a more positive outlook on life.
Characteristics of depression can include, but are not limited to:
- Feelings of sadness, irritability, worthlessness, guilt, helplessness, or hopelessness
- Loss of interest in things that once brought pleasure
- Change in sleeping patterns or eating habits
- Low energy and difficulty concentrating
- Persistent thoughts of death or suicide
- Withdrawing from friends and family
- Uncontrollable emotions
Whether you or a loved one need help to deal with depression around Valentine’s Day or you suffer from depression in general, our team of mental professionals can help. At Cypress, our family of psychotherapists leverages their experience, training, and compassion to provide a wide range of treatment solutions to help treat depression.