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4 Ways to Decrease Seasonal Depression

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a condition that affects up to 20% of Americans. The most common form occurs during the fall/winter months, though a rare form can occur during spring/summer. It’s often normal to feel as if you have less energy during the winter months, but SAD is much more than just the “winter blues.” It’s a seasonal subtype of depression.
Common symptoms are irritability, being tired and oversleeping, having low energy, hypersensitivity, feeling sluggish, and appetite changes (especially craving carbs) that can lead to weight gain. SAD is most common in females who are between the ages of 15-55 and who live further away from the equator.

Here are 4 steps you can take to decrease the effects of SAD:

1. Light Therapy:
Reduced sunlight is believed to be a major cause of SAD. With the days getting shorter and weather getting colder, it can be difficult to get enough time out in the sun. Serotonin and melatonin are two of the main chemicals and hormones that help stabilize your mood, and are the two hormones that are most affected by reduced sunlight.
This change in your body’s hormonal balance can then trigger depression. It’s believed that by using light therapy for approximately 30 minutes a day, you can restore the balance and thus reduce symptoms of SAD. There are a wide variety of light boxes available for purchase online, such as this one from Amazon.
2. Eat Clean:
Weight gain during the winter months isn’t just caused because of all the family get-togethers and holiday treats; it can also be a sign of SAD. Your reaction to feeling sad and depressed may be to go for the comfort foods that are high in sugar and calories.

It’s more important than ever this time of the year to eat healthy. Load up on some popcorn or some fruits and veggies rather than the pint of ice cream and chips you may be craving. Not only will your mind feel clearer and you’ll feel more energized, but you’ll also avoid the weight gain.
3. Be Active:
Just as eating healthy is important, you should also get in your daily exercise. Not only will exercise help keep you stay fit, it can also help you ease some of the symptoms of SAD. The increased blood flow to your brain will help your body produce serotonin and function better overall. It’s also a great way to work through frustrations and focus on something that you can really control. Aerobics is the recommended workout for SAD, but don’t forget your calming yoga sessions either!

4. Keep a Schedule:
When you’re feeling depressed, it’s easy to lose motivation and passion for activities you once loved. You may want to spend all day lying in bed and not doing anything, but that only causes you additional harm. It’s important to go to bed at the same time each night and establish a routine for getting enough rest. Playing around with your routine and changing the time that you go to bed or wake up each morning can confuse your biological clock and aggravate your SAD symptoms.
This article is not intended to treat or diagnose. It’s good to talk to a professional if you think that you may be struggling with Seasonal Affective Disorder and find out what method of treatment is recommended for you. These tips may help lessen the effect of the symptoms of SAD and help you to have a better day. What could be more important than that?! Don’t let the changing seasons get you down – take control of your life and enjoy each and every day!

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Andrea Karwandy

Andrea is a fashion and fitness enthusiast who blogs at Andi's Attic. She is from Saskatchewan, Canada and has an interest in learning about different types of fitness and living a healthy life.

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