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How to Manage Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) During a Pandemic

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is hard enough to deal with under normal circumstances. But, as with so many other things, the weight of the COVID-19 pandemic can make it even more difficult to manage.

If you struggle with SAD, you might be right in the thick of things at the moment. Many parts of the country are facing some of the coldest, dreariest days of the year. Winter may not “let up” for several more weeks.

On top of that, the pandemic has caused an extraordinary amount of stress and grief, triggering anxiety and depression for so many.

So, what can you do to manage your Seasonal Affective Disorder during a pandemic? How can you deal with this “double whammy” when you might already be feeling sad, hopeless, and lonely?

Get Outside as Much as Possible

Getting outside is one of the easiest ways to manage your symptoms of SAD. Even on a somewhat cloudy day, you can still often see and feel the sunlight coming through, and it can make a big difference.

Studies have shown that being outside also improves your mood and can give you a burst of energy. Taking a walk around your neighborhood or going on a lengthy hike in the afternoon when the sun is the highest can allow you to soak up everything the great outdoors has to offer. It can also give you the light your mind and body need.

The great thing about being outside during this pandemic is that it’s completely allowed and encouraged! You don’t have to feel crowded or “shut-in,” and you will still see people out and about, providing a sense of normalcy.

Get Creative With Communication

When you’re dealing with SAD, having a support system in place is important. But, thanks to the pandemic, you might feel more isolated and alone.

Technology can come to the rescue in many ways. You might just have to think outside the box and get a bit more creative. While you might not be able to see everyone you want in person, you can “see” them online.

Utilize things like Zoom, FaceTime, and Skype as often as possible. These options are better than a traditional phone call because they allow you to see who you’re talking to. It’s not the same as an in-person interaction, of course. But, it’s the next best thing and can provide you a sense of comfort.

Knowing you have someone there for you, even if it’s on the other end of the screen, can make you feel better. It also allows you to open up and talk about how you’re feeling.

Take Care of Yourself

When you’re feeling depressed, it’s easy to forego self-care. But, taking care of your mind and body is more important than ever right now.

Make a solid, conscious effort to see your health as a priority. Everything from getting enough sleep each night to eating a healthy diet will make a difference in how you feel. The healthier your habits, the easier it will be to stay positive.

Remember, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. This winter won’t last forever, and thanks to the rollout of vaccinations for COVID-19, the pandemic will hopefully be in the rearview mirror soon, too. Those are things you can look forward to and realities that can help you to feel better.

In the meantime, do what you can to take care of yourself, lean on others, and don’t hesitate to try therapy if your SAD becomes worse. If you’re struggling, feel free to contact us for more information or to set up an appointment.