Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

Countering seasonal depression during the COVID-19 pandemic

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 | 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...

MHS Minute: Military Leading the Charge on COVID-19 Research

Video
5/28/2020
Image of MHS Minute Carousel

The military continues to serve on the front lines of research and treatment in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Tune in to the MHS Minute to learn more.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Transport Vent Tutorial (ParaPAC) (March 25, 2020)

Video
5/11/2020
DHA Seal

Transport Vent Tutorial - ParaPAC

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine

Multi-Dimensional Approach To Intubation In The Setting Of COVID-19 (April 1, 2020)

Video
5/11/2020
DHA Seal

In this video, a doctor and nurse will talk you through preparing to intubate a patient. At the end of the video we highlight some special considerations for intubation in the context of COVID.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine

Shock Basics for the Non-Intensivist (March 19, 2020)

Video
5/11/2020
DHA Seal

Shock Basics for the Non-Intensivist...in the age of COVID-19.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine

Sedation and Analgesia in the ICU during COVID-19 (March 31, 2020)

Video
5/11/2020
DHA Seal

This video is intended to assist healthcare providers with the care of critically ill patients only. It is to be used as a guide ONLY for patients who have breathing tubes and are mechanically ventilated (on breathing machines). It will introduce you to sedative and analgesic medications that are used in the intensive care unit setting only. It will provide recommendations for use of sedation and analgesia in standard settings, but it will also provide recommendations for use in resource limited

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine

Airway Pressure Release Ventilation (APRV) (April 17, 2020)

Video
5/11/2020
DHA Seal

This video will explain the basics of Airway Pressure Release Ventilation, an option for mechanical ventilation, that is helpful as an oxygen salvage therapy for patients with Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS).

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine

Ventilator Basics - Part 2 (ACPC and PS) (March 25, 2020)

Video
5/11/2020
DHA Seal

This video is an introduction to pressure control and pressure support ventilator settings. If you have not yet viewed 'Vent Basics for Non-Intensivists (ACVC/VAC)", please watch that video first. This video is not intended to be all encompassing. It is intended to educate non-intensivists on basic vent settings and vent mechanics.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine

Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome Lecture (April 10, 2020)

Video
5/11/2020
DHA Seal

In this lecture, the topic or Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome is reviewed. Specific discussion on diagnosis and treatment including lung protective strategies are discussed.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine

IV Vasoactive Medication Basics for the Non Intensivist (March 19, 2020)

Video
5/11/2020
DHA Seal

This video provides a refresher/introduction to the basics of inotropes and vasopressors that may be helpful in the context of treating COVID-19 patients. It is not intended to be all-encompassing.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine

Ventilator Basics (ACVC) (March 19, 2020)

Video
5/11/2020
DHA Seal

Ventilator basics (one mode) for non-intensivists

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine

Ventilator Tutorial V500/PB840 Drager (April 10, 2020)

Video
5/11/2020
DHA Seal

Ventilator assembly and input of settings for two common ICU ventilators.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine

ICU Nursing Series: Assembling Pressure Tubing (March 31, 2020)

Video
5/11/2020
DHA Seal

This video will review how to assemble pressure tubing to transduce pressures and waveforms from arterial lines and central lines. Connection to an ICU monitor with zeroing is also reviewed.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine

Acid Base for the Non-intensivist (March 21, 2020)

Video
5/11/2020
DHA Seal

This video will teach you the etiologies for the various acid-base disorders as well as teach you how to interpret an ABG with a focus on metabolic acidosis and mixed disorders. This will teach you little to nothing about buffering, organic chemistry, biochemistry, etc. This is for practical application at the bedside.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine

Sepsis In The Age of COVID-19 (April 10, 2020)

Video
5/11/2020
DHA Seal

This video will review diagnosis and management of sepsis with some clarifications/alterations that apply during the COVID pandemic. This video is not all inclusive. It is meant as a refresher for non-intensivists.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine

Awakening Trials, Breathing Trials, and Extubation (March 27, 2020)

Video
5/11/2020
DHA Seal

This video covers safety screens and failure criteria for Spontaneous Awakening Trials (SATs) and Spontaneous Breathing Trials (SBTs). These together form the ABCs of daily care of ICU patients on vents (Airway and Breathing Coordination). Additionally, it covers the criteria that should be met prior to attempting extubation.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine
<< < ... 6 7 > >> 
Showing results 76 - 90 Page 6 of 7

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.