Beating SAD This Winter: How to Manage Seasonal Affective Disorder

Author: Kimberly Hayes   |   Posted on: October 22, 2019

Beating SAD This Winter: How to Manage Seasonal Affective Disorder

Photo via Pixabay by Pawel_Kozera


Seasonal affective disorder (also known as SAD) can have a lasting impact on many people, across various seasons. A large number of Americans find themselves battling sadness or depression when winter rolls around, in part because of the lack of sunlight and the fact that most greenery dies or loses color, leaving a harsh landscape behind that has no warmth. It can be hard to focus when you’re living with SAD or difficult to take care of daily chores or work. You may also have a hard time keeping your immune system stable, which can lead to illness. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you can find ways to feel good, whether that means focusing on yourself every day or taking steps to get physically healthy.

Fortunately, there are several things you can do to promote positive change in your life when SAD affects you. Finding one that works for you may take some time, so it’s essential that you try a few different things. Think about what makes you happiest and go from there.

Keep reading for some great tips on how to get started.

Get Outside

Sunlight provides many things for all forms of life, but one of the most important things we get from it is serotonin. This hormone is known for its positive effects on mood and sleep, and when we don’t get enough of it, both of those things can suffer. During the colder months, when the days are shorter, it can be hard to get the sunlight we need, but fortunately, there are some things you can do to help. If you work in an office all day, try to get outside on your lunch break. Even if it’s cold outside, bundle up and sit in the sun for a few minutes. On the weekends, take your kids or dog to the park and get some exercise when the weather is nice. You can also try light therapy, which uses artificial light to mimic what you’d get from the sun.

Listen to Your Gut

Gut health isn’t just about eating fiber every day; it’s about a good balance of physical and mental health. Eating the right foods is a good start, but it’s also important to exercise, reduce stress, and keep the bacteria in your gut balanced. Eating foods with natural probiotics — or taking a supplement — can help boost your mood and reduce gas and bloating.

Get Rid of Stress

When you’re already feeling low, added stress from your job, school, or relationships can make things much worse. It’s crucial that you look for ways to relax, and there are several things you can do to help aid the process. You might take time for yourself every day to read or catch up on your favorite show, get a pedicure, start journaling and get organized, or learn how to say no when someone asks for too much of your time or energy. When you find something that fits your lifestyle, do it as often as possible to help boost your mood.

Get Social

It can be very difficult to stay social when you’re living with seasonal affective disorder; sometimes, the bleakness of fall and winter makes leaving the house a huge chore. However, it can be very helpful to get out and meet up with friends or family now and then. Not only does it allow you to beat loneliness, but it can also boost self-esteem and confidence to spend time with people you enjoy. If you can include sunlight in your get-together, all the better.

Beating seasonal affective disorder can be a challenge, and if you’ve tried a few different methods without success, consider talking to your doctor to find out more options. Try to stay patient throughout the process, and remember to take time for yourself when you can.