Skip to main content

Military Health System

Countering seasonal depression during the COVID-19 pandemic

Image of Man with his head in his hands, sitting in front of a Christmas tree. The holiday season can be a stressful time of year for many people. (Photo by Army Lt. Col. Keith Hickox, Joint Forces Headquarters, Pennsylvania National Guard.)

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response | Psychological Fitness | | Depression | Suicide Prevention

The recent winter holidays are traditionally seen as a time of celebration and gathering with friends and family.

However, many people suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) may already feel that December and the New Year is a time of depression and worry. As we look to 2021 still facing travel restrictions, social distancing, the possibility of sickness from COVID-19, and now uncertainty about a vaccine – those who suffer from SAD are apt to have an even more difficult time over these winter months."

SAD, or sometimes called seasonal depression, is a subtype of a major depressive disorder. According to a National Institutes of Health, symptoms of SAD are varied, and may include feeling depressed most of the day, changes in weight or appetite, feeling sluggish or agitated, social withdrawal (feeling like “hibernating”), oversleeping, feeling hopeless, and having difficulty concentrating.

Those suffering from SAD might find themselves extra stressed and worried about family members, travel, and finances, which can contribute to feelings of depression.

If the pandemic— coupled with SAD— have you feeling out of control, you’re not alone. The pandemic has made many people feel as if they are out of control. “Recognizing our lack of control can be an important first step in coping,” explained Army Capt. (Dr.) Jacob Eliason, a psychiatry resident at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

Eliason encourages helpful lifestyle changes to help mitigate these symptoms. These include regular exercise, a healthy diet, and getting 8 hours of rest per night.

Sometimes, however, patients who experience more disruptive mood symptoms may benefit from therapy or antidepressants. “Vitamin D supplements are [also] occasionally used to treat seasonal depression,” Eliason continued.

He also suggested sunlight therapy on sunny days, “Both are typically inexpensive and low-risk treatments but should be undertaken on an individual basis under the guidance of a [healthcare] provider.”

Another way to combat seasonal depression is partaking in fun social activities. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and new social distancing guidelines throughout the country, this may be more difficult. The CDC has counseled people to maintain social distancing when possible, and to wear masks when distancing isn’t possible. Our loved ones may have medical concerns or issues we aren’t aware about, so their preference toward social distancing and mask wearing should be respected.

“In this time of year, when many of us spend time with people outside of our normal social sphere, it is important to have respectful and proactive communication with friends and family members about pandemic precautions,” said Eliason. “In fact, it is often easiest to set ground rules before social gatherings by contacting the host and letting them know what adjustments you are willing to make regarding mask wearing, food preparation, and seating arrangements.

For some people, it might mean being a little creative this season,” Eliason added.

Seasonal Depression and COVID-19 don’t have to stop us from enjoying family and friends during the pandemic. Even if we can’t be physically near, showing love and compassion to those closest to our hearts is important.  “Be willing to listen to [family and friends] if you sense they are struggling with their mental health,” said Eliason, adding that, “If low mood or anxiety continue to be disruptive, people should not hesitate to get in touch with a medical or behavioral health provider.”

You also may be interested in...

Suicide Prevention Infographic 1

Infographic
8/2/2022
Suicide Prevention Infographic 1

Seeking help early can help prevent a crisis. Learn more about the treatment options and resources available to get help: www.health.mil/HereForYou #ConnectToProtect

Recommended Content:

Suicide Prevention Toolkit | Suicide Prevention

Suicide Prevention Infographic 6

Infographic
8/2/2022
Suicide Prevention Infographic 6

If you are struggling with depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues, there are nonclinical resources available. Chaplains and Mental Health | Health.mil #ConnectToProtect

Recommended Content:

Suicide Prevention Toolkit | Suicide Prevention

Suicide Prevention Infographic 5

Infographic
8/2/2022
Suicide Prevention Infographic 5

Don’t wait until you’re in crisis to get help. www.health.mil/HereForYou #ConnectToProtect

Recommended Content:

Suicide Prevention Toolkit | Suicide Prevention

National Suicide Prevention Awareness Main Graphic

Infographic
8/2/2022
National Suicide Prevention Awareness Main Graphic

September marks the beginning of Suicide Prevention Month. Visit our toolkit for products for you and your organization to promote suicide prevention resources: Suicide Prevention | Health.mil #ConnectToProtect

Recommended Content:

Suicide Prevention Toolkit | Suicide Prevention

Suicide Prevention Resources Infographic

Infographic
8/2/2022
Suicide Prevention Resources Infographic

Reach out for support. These clinical and nonclinical resources are available if you’re experiencing mental health issues. Mental Health is Health Care | Health.mil

Recommended Content:

Suicide Prevention Toolkit | Suicide Prevention

Suicide Prevention Infographic 2

Infographic
8/2/2022
Suicide Prevention Infographic 2

Don’t wait until you’re in crisis. Get help early if you’re struggling with mental health issues Mental Health Care | TRICARE. #ConnectToProtect

Recommended Content:

Suicide Prevention Toolkit | Suicide Prevention

National Suicide Prevention Awareness Graphic 2

Infographic
8/2/2022
National Suicide Prevention Awareness Graphic 2

September marks the beginning of Suicide Prevention Month. Visit our toolkit for products for you and your organization to promote suicide prevention resources: Suicide Prevention | Health.mil #ConnectToProtect

Recommended Content:

Suicide Prevention Toolkit | Suicide Prevention

Suicide Prevention Infographic 4

Infographic
8/2/2022
Suicide Prevention Infographic 4

Treatment works - get help early to address mental health conditions before they worsen. www.health.mil/HereForYou #ConnectToProtect

Recommended Content:

Suicide Prevention Toolkit | Suicide Prevention

Suicide Prevention Infographic 3

Infographic
8/2/2022
Suicide Prevention Infographic 3

September is #SuicidePreventionMonth. Recovery from suicide related thoughts or behaviors is possible. Often taking small steps to address problems early can make a big difference. Learn more about treatment options available: https://www.health.mil/Military-Health-Topics/Centers-of-Excellence/Psychological-Health-Center-of-Excellence/PHCoE-Clinician-Resources/Suicide-Risk/Treatment-for-Suicide-related-Thoughts-and-Behaviors #ConnectToProtect

Recommended Content:

Suicide Prevention Toolkit | Suicide Prevention

Whole Health System Approach to Long COVID

Publication
8/1/2022

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Veterans Health Administration is leading an effort to equip health care providers with a Veteran-centered Whole Health System approach to caring for Veterans with Long COVID, also known as post-COVID-19 conditions.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Information for Military Treatment Facility Directors | Coronavirus & the MHS Response | Coronavirus

Yoga Shield: Building Mental and Physical Resiliency

Article Around MHS
7/27/2022
Military personnel doing yoga

More than 30 Airmen assigned to the Ohio National Guard’s 178th Wing and the Iowa National Guard’s 132nd Wing began a week-long, 60-hour yoga training program July 18 at the 178th Wing in Springfield, Ohio.

Recommended Content:

Physical Fitness | Psychological Fitness

Mind-Body Mental Fitness

Article Around MHS
7/27/2022
Mountain view

The lifestyle of active duty service members and their families comes with unique stressors that can often be compounded by living overseas. What most people don’t realize is that stress is a normal part of life. The feelings of stress are just indicators that something in our life needs attention, and even presents a possibility for positive change and growth.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Physical Fitness | Psychological Fitness | Stress | Mental Health is Health Care

AFIMSC Chaplain Shares His "True North" Calling

Article
7/26/2022
An Air Force Airman inspects a target used during a shooting competition at Davis-Monthan Air Base, Arizona, in 2021. The True North program is a resilience program that embeds providers and spiritual leaders within squadrons and groups. Davis-Monthan implemented True North in October 2020. (Photo: Air Force Airman 1st Cl. William Turnbull)

Finding your True North – your authentic self, your purpose, your beliefs – can be a struggle for many today.

Recommended Content:

Psychological Fitness | Spiritual Fitness | Mental Health is Health Care

Talking to Your Family and Friends About Your Depression

Publication
7/18/2022

Talking with your friends and family about your depression symptoms is not easy. Use this worksheet to help plan the discussion. 1. Decide who to talk to. List the family and friends that you will tell. Bold or underline the person you will tell first.

Recommended Content:

Psychological Health Center of Excellence | Psychological Fitness | Depression

Suicide and Crisis Lifeline

Infographic
7/18/2022
Suicide and Crisis Lifeline

National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline offers 24/7, confidential support.

Recommended Content:

Suicide Prevention Toolkit | Suicide Prevention Toolkit | Psychological Fitness | Mental Health: Seeking Care with TRICARE
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 31 - 45 Page 3 of 38
Refine your search
Last Updated: February 28, 2022
Follow us on Instagram Follow us on LinkedIn Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on YouTube Sign up on GovDelivery