Seasonal Affective Disorder and COVID-19

Seasonal Affective Disorder and COVID-19

[Image description: An illustration of a person sitting at their desk working after the sun has set with a clock nearby that says “4:00pm”]

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), often referred to as seasonal depression and/or the “winter blues” is extremely common and something that some people experience every year. Being prepared and aware of what to look out for can be helpful.  

Symptoms of SAD 

Along with the shorter days and, in some cases, colder weather,  some people may feel the following symptoms of SAD 

  • Feeling depressed most of the time  
  • Losing interest in activities you typically enjoy 
  • Experiencing changes in appetite and/or weight 
  • Sleeping troubles 
  • Lacking energy 
  • Feeling hopeless or worthless 
  • Having difficulty concentrating 
  • Thinking about death and/or suicide 

Sometimes the symptoms of SAD can be easily confused with depression. If you have questions or think you may have SAD or depression, it’s a good idea to speak with a mental health provider. 

COVID-19 and SAD: Resources for Support 

A lot of the symptoms listed above may also describe what you’ve been feeling during the pandemic. COVID-19 is without a doubt an additional hurdle that everybody is facing this winter. The pandemic may be bringing up stress, anxiety, grief, anger, and agitation. You may also be experiencing decreased energy, fatigue, and/or even exhaustion. These feelings combined with symptoms of SAD may feel particularly uncomfortable, unknown, and maybe even a little scary.  

First and foremost, try to remind yourself that this has been a tough year. Everything you’re experiencing, while sometimes uncomfortable, is normal and to be expected. Secondly, remember that you are not alone in having challenges. Experts say that those who have been diagnosed with SAD may be facing a particularly difficult winter. While this may feel daunting, there are plenty of resources out there to help you cope. Here are a few to get you started:  

If you are looking for additional support, online therapy is a great option. Therapists can listen to you and offer coping strategies and comfort measures to help you feel more at ease this winter.  


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Please note: If you are in crisis or have suicidal thoughts, it’s important that you seek help immediately. Call 1-800-273-8255 (National Suicide Prevention Lifeline) or 911 if youre having an emergency. 

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