ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – The holiday season is typically a happy time to spend with family and friends. For some people, the winter season can trigger seasonal depression, a form of depression that occurs during the late fall and early winter. Stacey Sanford, Regional CEO Administrator at Oceans Behavioral Hospital, said seasonal depression can look different for each person.

“It looks like what we would deem regular depression. You have the same symptoms. Increased sadness. Feelings of helplessness worthlessness. A lot of times, increase in your sleeping but you’re still tired,” Sanford explained.

Chelsea Walls lost her grandmother, Terry, just before Thanksgiving this year. With Terry’s sudden death, her family was unable to gather for the holidays.

“She was only 62, so she was very young. It was a combination of a lot of issues,” said Walls.

Walls said being a nurse, mom, and a wife, it has been challenging to manage grief and seasonal depression at the same time.

“Dealing with grief on top of that, while also trying to care for your family. Care for your patients. Care for yourself, you know, care for your husband. It’s been hard,” Walls expressed.

Sanford said if you have a bad memory tied to the holidays, a good way to cope is to create new traditions.

“You celebrate your loved one. You cook their favorite food. You look at photos. You tell stories. You know you can reach out for help. It’s okay to ask for help,” said Sanford.

Walls is doing just that. By doing the things her grandmother loved doing, like spreading kindness.

“Covering a few dollars at the store. Paying for someone’s coffee, or taking an extra five minutes to listen to someone tell you about their day. You know, it’s like being generous with time, money where you can,” Walls shared.

Oceans Behavioral Hospital said from November to February, they see an average increase of 15% of new patients seeking forms of therapy. Sanford stressed that if someone is experiencing symptoms, they should talk to a doctor about what form of therapy can work for their specific situation. If one thing doesn’t work, there are alternatives to try.

Mental Health Resources: Ocean’s Behavioral Hospital: Home – Oceans Healthcare Government assistance: Home | MentalHealth.gov Texas Psychology: Find the Best Therapists and Psychologists in Texas – Psychology Today