A Note about Seasonal Affective Disorder

As the holiday season has ended and we begin the coldest months of the year it is common for people to experience melancholy. Perhaps even more so this year as the pandemic has caused isolation and uncertainty. In Maine, we experience lower amounts of sunlight than those closer to the equator. News Center Maine recently reported that there are 10-15% of people in Maine with Seasonal Affective Disorder. This condition causes individuals to feel depressed seasonally (most typically starting in the fall as winter approaches). One may feel depressed, not enjoy fun activities, differ in their appetite and sleep schedule, have low energy, and difficulty with focus or decision making. While SAD can begin at any age it most commonly starts between the ages of 18 and 30 (American Psychiatric Association, 2020).Although the change of seasons often prompts the change in symptoms there are many ways to treat the condition such as light therapy, talking to a therapist, medications, or a mix of these things. Taking vitamin D, movement, healthful eating, staying connected to loved ones, and other forms of self-care can also help improve symptoms.

Whether you experience SAD or not, you may find your spirits are down this winter. This could be due to mental health reasons, loneliness, a difference in expectations of your college experience due to the pandemic, a loss of a loved one, or a combination of these things and more. Despite these circumstances, please remember that you are where you belong. You are resilient and you are working towards bettering yourself; even amidst a global pandemic. That is something to be proud of. Please keep in touch and let us know in the advising office how we can best support you.

Have a strong spring semester,

Lana Lee


American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental

disorders (5th ed.). https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.books.9780890425596

Teboe, C. (2020, November 17th). Combatting seasonal affective disorder during the

coronavirus pandemic. News Center Maine


Did you know SMCC offers free counseling to students? If you’re interested in learning more please visit My Maine Guide>My Student Life>and click on the first quicklink: Counseling Services. If you’d like to talk to a counselor you can request a confidential meeting by calling the Sweetser Promise Line at 800-434-3000 and identify yourself as an SMCC student.