When the winter months come, many people experience the “Winter Blues,” A.K.A. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). This is different from feeling low or down. SAD is a form of mild depression and can appear differently from person to person.

When the winter months come, many people experience the “Winter Blues,” A.K.A. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). This is different from feeling low or down. SAD is a form of mild depression and can appear differently from person to person.

What it can look like

Here are some of the ways the Winter Blues
can show up:

  •  Sadness
  • Irritability
  • Having little energy
  • Anxiety
  • Hopelessness
  • Decreased productivity at work
  • Feeling helpless
  • Worthlessness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Changes in appetite, eating too much, or too little
  • Difficulty in making decisions
  • Prolonged aches and pains
  • Avoiding others, including friends, and family
  • Restlessness and sleep problems (too much or too little)
  • Loss of interest in things that you used to enjoy, including sex
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Self harm<

Some people will experience a few of these symptoms and others could have many. While several are normal in the short term, they become a problem when they impact daily life.

For example, a person might have trouble concentrating, leading to decreased productivity, then have less self-esteem because they aren’t contributing their share of work. This can cause a downward spiral. When symptoms last longer than 2 weeks, it’s time to get help.

Tips for beating those winter blues

Stay Social:

Many people will want to isolate themselves when they’re feeling depressed. Research shows that spending time with friends or family helps, giving you the chance to talk to others about how you feel, or give you an opportunity to do something enjoyable.

Get Exercise:

People find being physically active gives them goals and makes them feel better. Exercise is also linked to sleeping better — when your body is active, it knows how to rest even better. This can mean hitting the gym, playing sports, or simply taking a walk regularly.

Talk to a Doctor or an EAP provider:

Change doesn’t happen overnight and we all need a little help sometimes. For mild to moderate depression, speaking with a therapist can help you understand your thoughts, behaviours and feelings, while giving you tools to handle SAD day-to-day. Some people need medication as well to deal with their symptoms. You don’t have to “tough it out” — would you shake off a broken wrist? (Hopefully not.)