SAD, Sunday Scaries, & Seasonal Anxiety – Best of Excursions

seasonal anxiety scarecrow in a field

There are many ways to keep your mood and motivation steady throughout the year.

It is that time of year when the air cools, and the invitations to feast, drink, and be merry begin to arrive. Obligations at work, parties, lunch with friends, and family get-togethers are all part of navigating real-life recovery from addiction, eating disorders, and mental health conditions during the holidays. For those new to recovery, it is not just Halloween that is scary. It feels like there is a risk around every bedecked corner. Seasonal anxiety is common. Indeed, nearly half of all women and a third of men in the United States report higher stress levels during the holidays.


We also know that 20 percent of those with anxiety or mood disorders, such as seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or depression, experience substance use disorders and vice versa. There are many ways to keep your mood and motivation steady throughout the year.  At Sanford Behavioral Health, we write about this topic regularly with tips to manage seasonal anxiety. (Don’t forget you can say, “No thank you,” if an event seems like it might be detrimental to recovery.) We bring you four articles from the archives of Excursions magazine to help you quell the scaries and savor the season.



SAD, Sunday Scaries & Seasonal Anxiety – Best of Excursions

Kicking Up the Best of a Michigan Autumn – I’m Not SAD

Don’t brush off that yearly feeling as simply a case of the “winter blues” or a seasonal funk you must tough out on your own. Take steps to keep your mood and motivation steady throughout the year. Change it up! Experience your surroundings with someone new, or find a different place to soak up the autumn gorgeousness. Increase your pace in the cool air or try a new move – climb a tree or a dune. These fresh pursuits will increase creativity, decrease blood pressure, clarify problem-solving, generate vivid dreams (and deeper sleep), and increase appetite for nourishing food. [Read More…]


Seasonal Affective Disorder – It’s Not Just the Winter Blues

Seasonal changes in mood and behavior (seasonality) may be closely related to alcoholism. Some patients with alcoholism have a seasonal pattern to their alcohol misuse. They may be self-medicating an underlying seasonal affective disorder (SAD) with alcohol or manifesting a seasonal pattern of alcohol-induced depression. The good news is that many effective coping strategies exist to take the edge off the winter doldrums. These range from easy-to-apply steps you can take on your own to professional intervention. If you or a loved one would like to learn more about SAD, addiction, and co-occurring mental health conditions, contact Sanford Behavioral Health today. [Read More…]


5 Recovery Ideas for the Sunday Scaries

The Sunday Scaries are the feelings of dread that occur before heading back to responsibilities like work, childcare, or school. Studies show that 80% of Americans experience anxiety on Sunday afternoons when looming duties remind us that Monday is just a sleep away. For those in recovery from a substance use disorder, anxiety, lack of sleep, and that sinking feeling can be hazardous. Add rain, loneliness, a change of season, or an empty schedule, and Sunday can trigger a relapse. [Read More…]


How to Navigate Your Eating Disorder at Family Gatherings with Dr. Anna Flores

A challenge for our clients with eating disorders is that family can be a big part of the holidays. They may have strained relationships with their family members or have family members that are toxic to their recovery. Or even family members with disordered eating or eating disorders whose relationship with food is not conducive to recovery. There is a lot of pressure and feelings during the holiday season or whenever families gather. [Read More…]


Sanford Behavioral Health During the Holidays

Sanford Behavioral Health recreational therapist Raina Bawden, CTRS, says, “Life is hard in treatment and recovery. As recreational therapists, we are here to help our clients renew or, for the first time, discover a love for life and that silliness we all have inside us. We allow them to find the positives and get out of the rigid bubble they have themselves in.”


Helping our clients and their families prepare for the inevitable “scaries” is part of our real-life recovery conviction. Our evidence-based treatment programs are just the beginning of a life in recovery. We want to inspire our clients to find inner grit, enhance relationships, rekindle interests, and engage their passion. Recovery is a lifelong journey, and our goal is to prepare them for the long haul.


If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, eating disorders, or co-occurring mental health conditions, don’t wait to change your life – click the link and get in touch today.

Sanford Behavioral Health is licensed and accredited as an addiction, eating disorder, and co-occurring mental health treatment facility, serving all of Michigan and beyond. Each of Sanford’s facilities in Greater Grand Rapids is carefully and diligently crafted to create a welcoming and comforting environment. Sanford is led by a psychiatrist-led team of medical, clinical, and support personnel providing medication-assisted, evidenced-based treatment to residential, outpatient, and telehealth patients. For more information, visit