Did you know that January 21st is classified as the worst day of the year? Unfortunately, it is for many North Americans and it has been for years.

It’s not that it just happens, several factors come together to create the problem. So, how you deal with that problem is really the question on everyone’s mind. Let’s discuss…

For those who experience January as winter – it is often very cold. 

Storms are wonderful when we are inside and have nowhere to go.  By mid-January those in Northern North America have experienced maybe one or two severe winter storms.

When that third January week creeps up on us, those who hate winter are thoroughly numbed out.

And let’s face it, winter is barely a month old, yet we still have two-thirds of the winter remaining to look forward (or not) to.    

Ugh! That’s enough to send anyone into depression.   

Why do seasons affect depression rates?

Many people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder which comes from a lack in serotonin produced as the days get shorter.

If you’ve ever heard someone say they are in a “funk” or stuck in their way, it’s likely they are suffering from not having enough serotonin – a clear side effect.

Another culprit to Seasonal Affective Disorder, are some jack in the box triggers for many around Christmas. Christmas can be an anniversary of grief.

>> Grief that happens when you’re reminded that perhaps this day was a day of drinking and abuse in the past when growing up. 

>> Grief that happens when you’re reminded that perhaps it is a time when we remember the family who are no longer with us. 

>> Or even grief that happens when you’re reminded that perhaps you are struggling with the family that you’re not seeing and forced to spend the holiday season with. This can include visiting your in-laws or even remembrance of marital relationships that are not at their best. 

Sometimes when we visit our family we end up feeling little again, triggered by black box flashbacks. 

All of that getting stirred up means we are mixed up, and we want to stuff it all in a box and freeze it until it goes away. 

This box stuffing and freezing of incidents are stored in what I call Pandora’s box. Pandora’s box issues can be triggered by just about anything which causes us to feel overwhelmed and vulnerable.

When does seasonal depression start?

While there’s no true answer to this because it’s different for everyone, November seems to be a huge culprit.

Why? When October ends and the warm days are growing cooler, and the sun is disappearing we quietly switch fuel sources. 

November is often dark, cold, and without snow. There’s also a memorial holiday in Canada that honors fallen soldiers. A sad yet memorable day for many family members.

As the month drags on, we often start to get busier. Busy planning for the holiday celebrations in December and purchasing gifts for friends and family. Our motivation gets shifted from us to those around us.  

If you notice this happening to you, you may be leaning onto your adrenaline. Hyper focus causes us to neglect important things and we go into fight or flight mode. This causes us to refocus our attention on what makes us happy in the moment.

A solution to the vicious cycle

When you’ve noticed that you are feeling a bit under the weather and things are not going as you planned, remember to do these 4 things:

  1. Name your experience. When you do this, it helps you by somehow naming it and then taming it.
  2. Find ways to hang on. Create a distraction or venture out and make new friends to occupy your time.
  3. Find the good in every experience. As challenging as this one may be, it’s important to focus on the positive learning experiences that come from every situation. Remind yourself that every experience is human nature, it’s not particular to you but to everyone.
  4. Find someone to talk to. It’s great to find someone to talk with whether that’s family, friends, or a professional.

Until next time!