If symptoms last longer than the fall and winter months, Dr. Parks recommends reaching out to a mental health professional. NAMI,
FRESNO, Calif. -- The holiday season is not always the most wonderful time of year.
What is often joyous for some is the complete opposite for those experiencing the "holiday blues," or seasonal affective disorder - also known as SAD.
"Holiday blues, they usually start to come on or the onset is usually in the Fall. They usually resolve shortly after the holidays, so right around January," explained Dr. Amy Parks. "Whereas with seasonal affective disorder, the symptoms, while they're similar, will still be present about 40% of the year."
Parks is the executive director of the mental health organization NAMI in Fresno, California.
She said feelings of sadness, loneliness and exhaustion are normal this time of year. The holidays can bring financial stress to adults, while some families are dealing with grief after losing a loved one.
According to Parks, social media can also play a role, especially with children.
"We can see what they're doing with their families or their family traditions or celebrations, or even the gifts that they get -- then the comparison of that and what are we doing as a family," she said.
If you, your child or someone you know starts to become less engaged and more isolated, it's a sign the holiday blues or SAD can be settling in.
According to NAMI's website, some tips to overcome the condition include sticking to a normal routine, exercising and finding ways to relax.
Dr. Parks also suggests setting reasonable expectations.
"If you don't want to engage in your typical traditions that you do as a family, that's okay," she said.
If symptoms do not improve and last longer than the fall and winter months, Dr. Parks recommends reaching out to a mental health professional.