Navigating COVID, the Holidays, and SAD

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To say 2020 has been challenging feels like an understatement. The COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult to focus on anything other than simply surviving. Which in a way, is what the entire process of recovery and healing can sometimes feel like, too. 

In 2020 we had to persevere on our own, learning how to live in isolation in a healthy and sustainable way. We have experienced many joyous and gratifying moments too, but it can feel difficult to pinpoint them during such peculiar times. We now have the holidays and winter season approaching, with new challenges including the anticipation of another lockdown looming ahead. Under these circumstances, it is important to recognize we are not alone. We never are, even when it feels like it. 

The Holidays Can Be Joyous, Too

For many of us, the holidays can be difficult and confusing. Add in recovering our mental and physical health and a pandemic only makes things more complicated. 

The most powerful thing we can do for ourselves is to find ways to enjoy this season, too. Creating new traditions that feel nourishing and wholesome for us, even if they do not have a distinctive holiday theme, can be a very healing experience if the season is traditionally difficult. Volunteering at a shelter, making and/or donating food for those who need it, creating non-traditional gifts for family and friends, finding a penpal to exchange letters within an assisted living community, or even just simply taking yourself on a date somewhere that you know you will enjoy can fill us with positive feelings.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that is related to the changing of the seasons. More often than not, it is in relation to the winter season and/or colder and darker climates. With the winter season approaching, it is important we do things for ourselves that we know are healing and nourishing if we are aware that the seasons affect us physically, mentally, and emotionally have a negative effect on us. 

Our environment can have a dramatic influence on our sense of well-being, and understanding its impact is an important part of our healing process. If you know you are affected by the winter seasons, try making your home as cozy and bright as possible. Expose yourself to natural sunlight as much as possible, bundle up and spend time outside, invest in warm snuggly clothing, amp up your physical exercise and/or yoga routine, and make warming stews and comfort food as much as possible.

Know When to Reach out for Support

Reaching out for support can feel difficult, but having a loved one, therapist, or sponsor on call at all times may be wise during such a difficult season with so many factors affecting our mental health. We do not have to go through these difficult times alone, and it is imperative we remind ourselves of this.


As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, people everywhere are feeling their mental health being challenged. As the winter season approaches, we are aware that it may feel even more difficult this year with so many factors challenging our mental health. Reaching out for support can feel difficult, but having a loved one, therapist, or sponsor on call at all times may be wise during such a difficult season. At Avalon, we know how difficult it is to get through these times, but you are not alone. If you or someone you love is struggling with social isolation or pandemic, call us today at (844) 857-5992.

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