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Geese swimming on a half-frozen lake

Keep a Sunny Outlook on shorter Days

It’s that time of year. The days turn shorter. The sun turns shy, sometimes peeking
out for only moments a day. It’s only natural to feel a little blue. This year may look
and feel a bit different. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a rise in depression and
anxiety. People are juggling and struggling. Many are worried about loved ones and
what the future will bring. As winter approaches, people will stay inside, feeling more
isolated. This could turn seasonal blues into serious depression.

Seasonal blues or SAD?

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a form of clinical
depression that can cause symptoms such as low energy,
difficulty concentrating, loss of interest, and feelings of
hopelessness. Daylight walks, healthy eating, and a regular
sleep schedule can help. Here are a few added tips.

Get motivated and stay moving. Brisk walking, jogging, riding a
stationary bike, or any activities that
raise your heart rate can also boost
your mood. Moderate exercise is
safe for most people. But it’s always
a good idea to talk with your doctor
before you start an exercise program.

Consider light therapy. Although nothing can replace
sunshine, some people like to sit
20 to 60 minutes every morning in
front of a white fluorescent lightbox.
Do not use ultraviolet light, fullspectrum
light, heat lamps, or
tanning lamps for light therapy.

Discuss your medication options. Antidepressants may offer relief for
people who have SAD. If your doctor
prescribes an antidepressant, take it
as directed. Stopping suddenly could
make your depression worse. Your
doctor can slowly reduce the dose.

How To Shake Off Feelings of Isolation

Phone a friend. Sometimes a phone
is just a phone. You don’t always need
a virtual get together to connect.
Reach out to friends, even those you
may not have talked with recently.
You’ll cheer them up, too!

Do what you love. Boredom,
especially now, can cause your
mind to race with negative thoughts.
Keeping busy with activities you enjoy
can shift your feelings from helpless to
hopeful. Try something new.

Have a grateful heart. Think about
all that is good in your life. Focus on
the people and things you are grateful
for at least once a day. Some people
like to keep a “grateful journal,” that
keeps growing.

Seek out online support groups.
Many local community organizations
now offer a virtual place to connect.
You can make new friends, receive
and offer encouragement, and feel
more connected to others.

When to Reach Out

If you think you are depressed, reach
out to your provider. Ask about in person
or telehealth options. Visit
QuartzBenefits.com/findadoctor to
find a behavioral health provider in
your network.
If you have questions about behavioral
health services, including alcohol and
drug treatment services, call Quartz
Behavioral Health Care Management
at (800) 683-2300.

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