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New Year's Depression or Depression in January: Is It Real?

New Year's Depression

New Year's Depression, also known as "post-holiday blues," is a type of depression that occurs after the festive and celebratory season of the holidays. It is a common yet often overlooked form of depression that can affect people of all ages and significantly impact one's mental health and overall well-being.

Symptoms of New Year's Depression can vary from person to person, but some common signs to look out for include the following:

  • Persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or worthlessness

  • Lack of energy or motivation

  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions

  • Changes in sleep patterns or appetite

  • Loss or decrease of interest in activities that were once considered enjoyable

  • Increased irritability or agitation

  • Difficulty coping with everyday tasks

  • Physical symptoms such as headache, stomachache, or pain without a clear cause

There are several potential causes of New Year's Depression. One possible cause is the end of the holiday season, which can be a time of high expectations and celebration. When the holidays end, it can be a letdown and leave people feeling empty or low. Another possible cause of New Year's Depression is the winter season, also called Seasonal Affective Disorder. SAD is a type of depression that occurs during the winter season, especially when there is less natural sunlight. The lack of sunlight has been associated with a disruption in the body's internal clock, leading to low moods and symptoms of depression.

Other factors that may contribute to New Year's Depression include financial stress, relationship problems, and the pressure to make and keep New Year's resolutions. The high expectations that often come with the onset of a new year can sometimes be overwhelming, leading to experiencing feelings of inadequacy or disappointment.

When dealing with New Year's Depression, seeking help and support from loved ones, a mental health professional, or a support group can be helpful. You could start by focusing on self-care, perhaps by getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and engaging in regular physical activity. It can be helpful to set realistic goals and expectations and to find healthy ways to cope with stress, such as through relaxation techniques or exercise.

Remembering that it's okay not to chase an unrealistic idea of perfection may be helpful. Instead, taking care of yourself during the new year could be beneficial. Reaching out to others and spending time with loved ones can also be helpful. Social support can be a powerful tool in combating depression. You can also consider activities that bring joy and meaning, such as hobbies or volunteer work that might instill a community spirit where you find meaning in being of service to those who need it. These are known to have a more positive impact on a person's mental and physical well-being.


Suppose you are struggling with New Year's Depression. In that case, it is helpful to remember that you are not alone and that help is available. Seeking support and treatment can make a significant difference in improving your mental health and overall well-being.

If you're looking for help in managing depression and anxiety, working with a psychologist might be helpful for you. At Ward & Associates Psychological Services, we offer counselling in Sherwood Park. We specialize in individual counselling for adults, teens, and children and couples counselling and trauma counselling for first responders. We also offer online therapy for clients residing in Alberta. Contact us to learn more about our services or to book an appointment.

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