This article was published on December 21st, 2022
New year, new you, right?
Not so fast.
Even though a new year can bring new opportunities and high expectations for what lies ahead, there also can be bouts of depression and doldrums that are commonly referred to as the ‘winter blues’ (not to be confused with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). These feelings can happen to anyone for sure and are not specific to any group, yet LGBTQ+ people experience it at higher rates than others, with a recent survey by ValuePenguin showing that 76% of Americans that identify as queer have gone through bouts of depression and loneliness during the winter season.
- LGBTQ+ members face more holiday doldrums and depression than any other demographic analyzed, and are more likely to cite strained relationships with family members
- 33% of queer people struggle with substance abuse during the holiday season
- 20% of LGBTQ+ Americans periodically remove themselves from social media to alleviate stress
- 13% seek a trained therapist, while others turn to less healthy coping mechanisms
- 58% of Americans aren’t completely satisfied with their health insurance plan’s mental health coverage. These respondents would especially like to see lower copays and better coverage for virtual therapy. Additionally, more than half of Americans (51%) face at least one barrier to seeking therapy.
- 55% report elevated stress and depression during the holiday season, with Gen Zers (75%) and single adults (65%) feeling lonelier than their counterparts.
- The top reasons cited for not feeling loved include not being around loved ones (41%), seasonal depression (37%), and grief (36%)
- Nearly 25% of Gen Zers and Millennials attribute their loneliness to social media sites
The following are some treatment options that can be incorporated into your daily routine to rid yourself of the winter blues this season. Researchers note that if one option does not work for you, try another one until you find the right match.
1. Stay active
Even a short daily walk around your neighborhood can keep the winter blues at bay, plus you will stay fit in the process.
2. Stay warm
The colder it is outside, the more likely we are to become depressed, so if you are cold, do everything you can to regulate your body temperate and stave off depressive feelings. Keep war by drinking lots of hot beverages and hot foods. Keep your dwelling between 64 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
3. Eat Healthy
A healthy diet will elevate your mood, ramp up your energy, and calibrate your weight during the winter months. Balance your diet with the right amount of carbohydrates with plenty of fruits and vegetables.
4. Light therapy
Light therapy has been found to be an effective solution for seasonal depression. One way to get light therapy is to sit in front of a light box for up to two hours a day.
5. Get a new hobby
Choose from a wide range of activities from playing tennis, singing, joining a gym, or writing a blog. The important thing is that you have something to concentrate on.
6. Visit friends and family
Socializing can do wonders for your overall mental health and helps ward off the winter blues. Keep in touch with people you care about and try to attend as many social events as you can to reconnect with friends and loved ones during the winter months.
7. Talk it out
Counselling, psychotherapy, or cognitive behavioral therapy can help you cope with symptoms. There are also online sessions you can join that are effective.
8. Join a support group
Sharing your experience with others in a support group is very therapeutic and can make your symptoms more bearable.
Take care of your health, be proactive, and seek assistance to keep the winter blues at bay and have positive experiences during the winter months.