Keeping Spirits Bright in the Winter

December 11, 2019
Keeping Spirits Bright in the Winter

More than 50% of people will be diagnosed with a mental illness or disorder during their lifetime.1 Winter weather and holiday stress can affect our mental well-being, so now is a great time to take stock of your mental state.

Making an effort to stay positive and asking for help during the holidays and winter months can improve your overall wellbeing. Here are some tips for handling the season.

Spend time with people who make you happy.

  • For some, this means family – but if your family adds stress, balance the time you spend with them against time spent with friends.
  • During the winter, people often “hibernate” in their homes. This can take a toll on your mental health. Get out of the house often and stay socially active.
  • Keep doing things that make you happy. Don’t give up your hobbies just because you’re busy.

Don’t abandon your healthy habits during the holidays.

  • If you exercise regularly, keep doing it. Exercise has great benefits for mental health and the way you feel in general.
  • Get enough sleep. This may be a challenge during the holidays because of so many activities. But it’s important to be well rested!
  • If you meditate or practice other types of self-care, keep doing it! If not, now is a great time to start.

Consider whether you may have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

If you feel depressed or anxious around the same time every year, you may have SAD.

  • The disorder can be caused by many things, including changes in your circadian rhythm and serotonin levels related to time and weather changes.
  • Some common symptoms are oversleeping, lack of motivation, low energy, changes in appetite, and weight gain or loss.
  • Don’t brush off a change in mood that lasts more than a few days. If you think you might have SAD, visit with your doctor about options.

Seek help if you need it. There are many solutions, temporary and long-term.

  • Talking to a trusted and well-liked therapist or counselor helps. Choose the frequency of your appointments and the type of therapy that feels right to you.
  • Medication can also help, and some forms can be taken for specific periods of time.
  • Mental health can affect your physical health. Mental illness increases the risk for physical problems like stroke, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.2
  • Making more positive health choices in general can improve your mental health.


Learn more about depression and how to treat it at

For plans including mental health benefits that are subject to Mental Health Parity, QualChoice follows the Mental Health Parity Act and the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act. The act ensures that for these plans, coverage for mental health or substance use disorder is comparable to coverage for medical and surgical care. Some of the benefit areas that must be equal are:

  • Financial, such as deductibles, copayments, coinsurance, and out-of-pocket limits
  • Treatment, such as the number of days or visits covered
  • Care management, such as being required to get pre-authorization