7 Ways to Cope with Seasonal Affective Disorder

7 Ways to Cope with Seasonal Affective Disorder

When the temperature begins to drop, the days become shorter and we lose hours of sunlight and daytime. This can cause many of us to experience a change in spirit or feel the “winter blues.” Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), otherwise known as seasonal depression, is a form of depression that occurs at the same time each year. It typically occurs in the winter months due to the cold weather and lack of sunlight. Seasonal depression can affect your mood, appetite, sleep, and energy levels. It can take a toll on many aspects of your life including work, school, relationships and social life, and your sense of self-worth.

woman with seasonal affective disorder looking out of a window
To help maintain a positive spirit this season, here are 7 tips to help stop seasonal depression in its tracks: 
1. Stay active.

It’s important to try and keep yourself busy to avoid hibernating until spring. Make plans with friends and family to help lift your spirits and not let seasonal depression take over your daily life.  

2. Enjoy some sunshine.

Even though the days are shorter and colder, the sun continues to shine.  Research shows that Vitamin D can be an important treatment for seasonal depression, so take advantage of the daytime hours and soak up some sunlight.  

3. Stick to a schedule.

Those with seasonal depression often have trouble sleeping at night and getting up in the morning. By maintaining a regular schedule, you can improve your sleep and expose yourself to light at consistent and predictable times.  

4. Get moving.

Exercise can help offset weight gain and mood changes that are common with seasonal depression. Exercising outdoors is most helpful, but if you can’t because it’s cold or snowy then choose an exercise machine close to a window.  

5. Take a trip.

If you can take a vacation, go somewhere that is warm and sunny. This will help lift your spirits and the effects will last for weeks after your return. For those that can’t take a full vacation, give yourself a break from your daily routine by treating yourself to something you enjoy. You can also start planning a vacation for the future to give yourself something to look forward to.  

6. Keep a journal.

Writing down your thoughts can have a positive effect on your mood. Incorporate writing in a journal into your daily or weekly schedule to release your negative thoughts.  

7. Talk to a professional.

Because seasonal depression is a form of depression, it’s best diagnosed and treated by talking with a mental health professional. The staff at our Counseling & Wellness Centers can help you develop a plan to address the issues that you are facing. For more information, call 844-4-ACENDA (844-422-3632).  


Vitamin D Research