If you are feeling sad, you are not alone. Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is a common condition with a specific seasonal pattern. With less sunshine in fall and winter, many succumb and find themselves depressed. Thankfully, there are some effective ways to cope with Seasonal Affective Disorder, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Symptoms Of Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD
It is believed that about 15 percent of those with SAD already have pre-existing depression, making the condition more severe. Anxiety and depression can become worse with less sunlight during fall and winter. You may know someone with this disorder, and you will notice certain telltale signs during these months.
COVID-19 has made it even more difficult to live our normal lives. We don’t see as many people, we have to stay COVID safe, and refrain from group interactions. All these restrictions trigger this disorder and exacerbate the symptoms. Add in job loss, kids not going to school, and financial worries and we are likely to have an increase in severity.
This affects young people as well, especially since their interaction with their peers has been cut short. Suicides are on the increase with this population.
Those with Seasonal Affective Disorder experience some of the following symptoms:
- Hopelessness and sadness
- Low energy
- Sleeping more than normal
- Difficulty concentrating or sleeping
- Weight gain
- Isolating from family and friends
Unfortunately, when spring finally arrives, it may be difficult to adjust and easily reverse these symptoms.
Ways To Cope With SAD During COVID-19
There are some proactive steps you can take to cope with SAD and to limit the severity especially this year.
Get Outside In The Sunlight
Find time every day to go outside, walk, jog, or just sit on a bench. The days may be shorter, but the sun is still out part of the day. It will also help to increase your natural Vitamin D levels.
Invest In A Light Therapy Lamp
You can purchase a light box or “happy light” which is 20 times brighter than normal light. Use that on cloudy, rainy, snowy days.
First thing each morning sit in front of it for about 30 to 45 minutes to give your emotions a boost.
Talk With Davidson Family Medicine About Vitamin D
Most of us don’t get enough Vitamin D from the foods we consume, so perhaps your physician might suggest a Vitamin D supplement to get you through this period. A simple blood test will indicate your level.
Take Time Off From Social Media And News
Although social media is supposed to keep us connected, it can sometimes cause us to have “the blues.” The news is never good, so maybe limit how much you consume.
Using some of the newer ways to connect with friends and family on line might be a better choice. Zoom and other meeting apps can make us feel less isolated, and we can share similar feelings.
Ask For Help
Maybe asking your physician to prescribe an antidepressant will get you through the winter of COVID. If your symptoms are serious, it might be time to see a therapist.
Keep a close eye on your children, and notice if they are exhibiting any of the SAD symptoms.
Whatever you do, don’t suffer in silence.
Contact Davidson Family Medicine if you are suffering with Seasonal Affective Disorder and need help.
For further questions or to schedule an appointment, please call (704) 892-5454 or request an appointment online today.