Your mental health can change along with the seasons. Millions of Americans are impacted by Seasonal Affective Disorder – or S.A.D. — every year according to Medline Plus. It’s a kind of depression related to changes in seasons that a lot of people don’t know they have.

Seasonal Affective Disorder occurs in climates like the Quad Cities where there is less sunlight at certain times of the year. Symptoms can include, but aren’t limited to, fatigue, depression, hopelessness, and social withdrawal.

Vera French CEO Richard Whitaker notes the holiday season is often another layer that gets piled on. 

“There are some additional stressors like the financial issues like the fact that schedules are disrupted. There’s pressure as well. I think that’s one of the main things is that people feel a lot of expectation around the holidays … They want to get that perfect gift and sometimes there’s a lot of expectations around relationships,” says Whitaker.

Whitaker offered up many solutions for S.A.D including therapy lights, exercising and speaking with a close friend or professional mental health advisor.

Or even a hug from a loved one to help keep warm

“Don’t try to solve problems during the holidays. Just enjoy the time off and the time together and it doesn’t have to be so pressure-packed.” said Whitaker.