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Don’t let the winter blues get you down: Five tips for managing Seasonal Affective Disorder

January 17, 2022
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Image of a senior woman looking out her window

Did you know that the seasons can affect your moods? You may have noticed that you sometimes feel a bit down during the fall and winter months. If so, you’re not alone. Winter is a time when many people suffer from a condition called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Symptoms of SAD include:

The good news is: there are many simple ways that people with SAD can beat the winter blues. Here are five steps you can take to boost your mood:

  1. Soak up the sun. One cause of SAD is a lack of Vitamin D due to less sunlight exposure. When the sun is shining, bundle up and get outdoors for a short walk if you can. Just don’t forget to wear sunscreen—yes, even in winter! You can also check with your primary care provider about taking an over-the-counter Vitamin D supplement.
  2. Take “comfort” in food. Eating more protein can enhance your mood and even prevent cravings between meals. Also, foods high in vitamin D—such as fish, milk, orange juice, cereal, and yogurt can help to boost your spirits.
  3. Stay active. Physical activity has the dual benefit of helping you sleep better and improving your mental health. Even just 30 minutes a day can help. If you can’t go outside for a walk, try some simple indoor exercises, such as chair aerobics and stretching.
  4. Keep your mind (and hands) busy. When you’re feeling down, turn to your favorite hobby—or try a new one. Activities like crafting, knitting, playing games, listening to music, or reading can do wonders for your mood. For some inspiration, check out our recent article: Try something new in 2022! Fun activities for your mind, body, and soul
  5. Talk to someone. If you’re feeling depressed, talk to your primary care provider, and family or friends. CCA can also help. Our members can call our Nurse Advice Line to speak to a behavioral health clinician. We’re here 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Our Massachusetts members can call 866-610-2273 (TTY 711).

Our Rhode Island members can call 833-346-9222 (TTY 711). 

When to see your provider for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

People with SAD can sometimes experience more severe symptoms, such as depression or hopelessness. If you’re feeling down for days or weeks at a time, and you no longer enjoy doing the things you love, check in with your healthcare provider.

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