WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — The holidays are over, families who have traveled are back home, and life is returning to normal.

While post-holiday letdown is pretty normal, sometimes it can be a more complex problem, often referred to as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Whether you’re an empty nester, living long-distance from family, or just dealing with the aftermath of the holidays, you can be dealing with complex emotions, including sadness, now that life has returned to “normal.”

Many psychologists have presented their own personal research and theories, such as psychologist and author Dr. Eileen Kennedy-Moore.

She suggests in an article in Psychology Today that it is “post-adrenaline blues.” The idea is that during the holidays, our bodies are being pumped with all sorts of hormones, including stress hormones, and what we are experiencing is similar to what drug addicts can experience during withdrawal now that those hormones are being cut off.

If you are dealing with post-holiday blues, there are some important things to remember to help you cope:

  • Feelings of sadness are normal. It’s important to acknowledge your feelings and remember that no one is going to be happy all the time. However, it’s also important to know that those feelings are temporary, and you will feel happier soon.
  • Track your triggers. Try to keep track of the things that trigger your stress or sadness so you can do your best to either avoid them or be prepared to confront them.
  • Don’t isolate yourself. Call friends, and seek out activities outside of the home to keep yourself occupied and allow you to socialize.
  • Take care of yourself. Practice healthy eating habits, get exercise, and get good rest.

It’s estimated at least 20% of people will experience post-holiday blues. However, If the blues seem to persist and your feelings of sadness just don’t seem to go away, you may be dealing with something more serious like SAD, and it might be time to seek help from a professional.

Some signs it might be SAD, or a major depressive disorder include:

  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Loss of appetite or frequent overeating
  • Losing interest in activities you used to enjoy
  • Loss of energy
  • Difficulty concentrating on tasks, even simple ones
  • Feeling sad or depressed most of the day or many days in a row
  • Thoughts of self-harm or suicide

If you are experiencing any of the above, speak to a healthcare professional or mental health provider as soon as possible. If you are experiencing a mental health crisis or dealing with thoughts of suicide or self-harm, you can call or text the National Mental Health Hotline at 988.

Ascension Via Christi offers a variety of both inpatient and outpatient mental health services. You can find a list of their resources here.