Depression can happen at any time
of the year, but can be felt most
deeply around the holidays if people
are lonely. Health professionals
often see two groups of people:
those with depression year-round
who become more depressed, and
people whose sadness and anxiety
are caused by the holidays.
To compound holiday sadness,
winter itself can cause the blues,
also known as seasonal affective
disorder (SAD). We get SAD when
our internal biological clock is
disrupted. Our 24-hour cycle gets
thrown off in winter when we have
less exposure to sunlight. That
causes fatigue, increased appetite,
irritability and lethargy.
Calgary Foothills PCN medical lead
Dr. Ted Jablonski says he’s living
proof that SAD can be beaten.
“I deploy a plan so winter will never
defeat me again,” says Jablonski,
who unknowingly had SAD for
decades. Into his forties and a
practising medical doctor, he
became increasingly concerned
about his seasonally fluctuating
energy levels and moods. Finally,
his winter blues were diagnosed
“I had to admit that I had an illness
and I began to manage my life
differently,” he explains. “I try to
stay one step ahead of things
now.” Jablonski says his success
comes largely from making lifestyle
changes. (See sidebar.) “It’s been
working for 10-plus years now, so
I’m not giving it up.”
Avoid a holiday letdown by starting new traditions based on your family’s values.
best remedy against mild to
moderate depression and anxiety.
and get enough sleep.
among the biggest factors in
depression over the holidays.
mental health clinics.
and make realistic goals to move
better to help those in need.
regularly in the morning to mimic
the summer sunrise.
talk to your family doctor about
counselling, medication and