It’s okay to feel sad in the winter but not for too long!

December 12, 2023 / Molina Healthcare

It’s okay to feel sad in the winter but not for too long!

We’ve all heard about the winter blues and seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. SAD is experienced by a lot of people when the days are shorter, the nights are longer, the weather is colder and we spend more time inside.

SAD is a kind of depression that occurs during the same season each year. It’s also known as winter or seasonal depression.

If you have SAD, you might have one or more of the following:

  • Sadness
  • Unhappiness
  • Grumpiness
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue 
  • Lack of concentration
  • Irritation or agitation
  • Lack of energy
  • Feeling of uneasiness 
  • Sleeping problems 
  • Loss of interest in activities

While anyone can experience SAD, it’s more common for:

  • People living in places where there are less daylight hours
  • People who have other mood disorders
  • People who have family members with other mental illnesses, like major depression or schizophrenia

Doctors aren’t sure about what causes SAD. They think that lack of sunlight may cause it. A lack of light might upset your biological clock. It controls your sleep-wake pattern. It also controls other important circadian rhythms. A lack of sunlight can also affect a chemical in the brain called serotonin. Serotonin affects your mood.

Because SAD is linked to the seasons of the year, it will usually come and go around the same time each year. You might feel unhappy and tired during the fall and winter. You might have more energy and feel more cheerful during the spring and summer.

The best thing you can do if you have SAD is to exercise regularly. Get more sunlight. Try to exercise outside when the sun is out. Being active early in the day might help you have more energy. It might also help you feel less depressed. If it’s too cold outside, exercise or do something fun by a sunny window. Try reading a book. Call a friend or enjoy a healthy, balanced meal.

Your doctor can also help diagnose and treat SAD. Give them a call if you have any questions or need more help.

This season don’t be sad. 


Category: Mental Health