Shared joy is a double joy; shared sorrow is half a sorrow. - Swedish Proverb

Dr. Norman E. Rosenthal is the world-renowned researcher and psychiatrist who led the team that first described Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and pioneered light therapy to treat it. A best selling author (Transcendence, The Gift of Adversity and Super Mind), he is also an executive coach and popular public speaker.

SAD and Covid: A Double Whammy


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The pandemic was already disrupting our well-being back in July when a Kaiser family foundation tracking poll found that more than half of U.S. adults said that the pandemic had negatively affected their mental health in the form of stress and worry – a full 20% higher than the same poll conducted in March. No surprise there but a startling number, nonetheless. Specific problems included difficulty sleeping and eating, increased use of alcohol and drugs and worsening of chronic conditions.a

Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD is a condition whereby an estimated 1 in 20 people suffer predictable changes during the dark short days of autumn and winter. When you combine the pandemic with SAD you get a double whammy effect—a lot of people are suffering very badly right now.

How we can best cope with – and make the most of – this strange time?

Since March 2020 I have spoken to individuals, businesses and corporations to help people maintain morale, positive attitude and creativity at this difficult time. Moreover, I have been called upon by TIME and PEOPLE magazines, New York Times, Washington Post, NPR and The Guardian to name a few.

If your staff is feeling tired, rundown, and demoralized I would be happy to talk with them in such a way as to give them a shot in the arm. My talks have been shown to inspire enthusiasm and help motivate people to use their time more creatively and be more productive.

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In the News

Winter Got You Down? Here’s How to Combat Seasonal Blues, According to Experts

When the long summer days begin to slip away and temperatures begin to drop, it’s not uncommon to feel down in the dumps. Many may begin to feel resigned and sad as early as the fall when facing bone-chilling weather and increased isolation during the darkest time of any year, but it’s possible many more may feel affected by the challenges that this winter may bring. Read Full Article

How to Support a Partner Experiencing Seasonal Depression

Experts expect higher incidences of Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, during the Covid-19 pandemic. Here’s what to look out for – and how to help someone experiencing it. As days get shorter and the weather outside turns cold, some couples may spend more time bundling up with their boo indoors with an unwanted guest: seasonal depression. Read Full Article

The Double Whammy of Seasonal Affective Disorder in a Season of Covid

This winter the pandemic is expected to intensify the depression experienced by many people with the syndrome known as seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. We hadn’t yet switched back to standard time, with its shortened hours of afternoon daylight, when I began to notice a lack of enthusiasm for activities that I usually enjoy during the darker, colder days of fall and winter. Indoor projects like knitting and crocheting and preparing enticing new recipes — even books and televised shows and movies friends recommended — failed to interest me. Read Full Article

‘Tis The Season: Coping With SAD, Or Seasonal Affective Disorder

When Dr. Norman Rosenthal moved to the U.S. from South Africa, he felt less energetic during the harsh winters. He noticed that other people felt the same way. “Just like the autumn leaves, they became depressed on schedule,” says Rosenthal, a clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown University School of Medicine. Read Full Article


Many Americans Face Bleak Winter as Covid Takes Toll on Mental Health

Every winter, as the days get shorter, darker and colder, millions of Americans suffer debilitating psychological symptoms that can interfere with every aspect of life at home, work and school. Read Full Article

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What people are saying

  • That was an awesome webinar.  Dr. Rosenthal was amazing!
  • Just wanted to thank you for finding Dr. Rosenthal! He was a big tub of charm!!
  • That was such a GREAT and informative webinar. I have pages and pages of notes to share with our team!
  • Thank you for providing this informative webinar.  You were a terrific facilitator and Dr. Rosenthal was such a warm and helpful guest.  His message of kindness and empathy is exactly what is needed right now.  Also,  I very much appreciate the consideration of the therapy lights as eligible remote office equipment.
  • I absolutely loved today’s SAD in the time of COVID webinar with Dr. Rosenthal.  I listened in as I worked, and I agree with the participant’s comments that his voice alone was very soothing!  I was also pleased to hear that a lightbox is eligible for reimbursement under TIAA’s equipment reimbursement program.  A big thank you to you and your team for planning and executing this virtual event!
  • Thank you for today! The reviews are pouring in….people are suggesting that you just record 5 minutes of affirmation each morning and that will cure all of our ailments.

Things you can do to combat/social isolation:

  • Reach out to people – call or email an old friend, don’t forget the telephone.
  • Try to get together in-person. Just seeing somebody in three dimensions can be really heartwarming.
  • Create a bubble – close family quarantining. Quarantining with another family.
  • Stay safe to the extent possible
  • Maintain your daily structure
  • Light and dark
  • Rest and activity
  • Keep regularly scheduled activities wherever possible
  • Cultivate healthy habits
  • Be creative – try to make each day joyful
  • Find the gift in adversity – cultivate a hobby that you’ve long-wanted to develop, a language, singing lessons, lectures on any subject your heart desires – the golden age of Greece, opera, whatever. Be playful – make jewelry, learn watercolor. These are all things that one or other of my patients has actually done.
  • Be grateful

[Video 3:10] Handling Adversity: Ray Dalio Introduces Dr. Norm at Bridgewater

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