Seasonal depression, the “winter blues,” and seasonal affective disorder (SAD) all have one thing in common: timing. As winter approaches and the amount of daylight decreases, energy levels and moods begin to diminish for many people. Now, when adding the psychological effects of COVID-19 and being locked-down, experts are worried about what this could mean. According to Yale Medicine, symptoms of seasonal depression include but are not limited to “poor mood, low energy, excessive sleepiness during the day, craving carbohydrates, over-eating and gaining weight, and social withdrawal”. Although only 15% of the population are assumed to be affected, more may experience only a couple of the symptoms associated. Listed below are a few tips that may be useful.
Helpful Tips to Cope with Mild Seasonal Depression/COVID Stress
- Getting your endorphins active with an outdoor walk;
- Considering extra lighting or light therapy;
- Participating in physical activity;
- Trying some yoga exercises;
- Exploring art expression, such as painting, dancing, singing, drawing, etc.;
- Making an appointment with your therapist.
This year, seasonal depression may be exacerbated by COVID concerns. Obviously, the tips listed above are not to be considered medical advice, especially for those suffering from more serious depression. Seeking professional medical assistance is by far the best advice.
In such a crazy time, it’s important to remember that you are not alone in this fight. Don’t let social distancing and the lock-down hinder you from making and maintaining relationships with friends and family. There are tools such as your cell phone, social media (in moderation), and even texting that can aid you in feeling isolated or lonely. It’s also important to remember to stay connected, focus on the positive, maintain a daily routine, and get regular exercise.
Resources include the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Disaster Distress hotline, 1-800-985-5990, or text TalkWithUs; the National Domestic Violence Hotline, 1-800-799-7233 (TTY: 1-800-787-3224); and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-8255, or call 911 (Yale Medicine).