The holidays can be an incredibly busy time for our social calendar as we share in festivities with family and friends. For many of us, however, the holidays can amplify feelings of loneliness and isolation. Strange as it may seem, you are most certainly not alone in feeling lonely during the holiday season. In fact, several studies have found that a growing number of Americans are experiencing feelings of loneliness or “the winter blues”, especially in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic. So, what can make “the most wonderful time of the year” feel not so wonderful?
Have you ever noticed that your mood and energy levels suddenly drop when the weather gets colder? Do you just not feel like yourself during the dark and shorter days of winter? You’re not alone. Millions of Americans experience an annual onset of depressive symptoms during specific seasons of the year.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a common form of depression that can affect people during seasonal transitions, particularly the colder months in Fall and Winter. SAD is different from other forms of depression because people tend to feel better once the weather warms up in the Spring and Summer. People living in northern, colder climates (think Seattle or Boston) are more likely to experience SAD compared to those living in southern, sunny climates (think Miami or Los Angeles).
While many people may experience a temporary feeling of the winter blues (Hello Daylight Savings!), SAD can impact the way we think, feel and function in daily life for long stretches of time every year. So, what might winter-pattern SAD look like?
Here are some common symptoms:
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