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Seasonal Depression is Real! Here Are 5 Effective + Unique Ways to Improve Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Winter means the shortest days and the longest nights. This means less daylight and, for many, a serious case of the winter blues.

Ever felt yourself getting glum for seemingly no reason this time of year? Feeling inexplicably “meh” or low energy? You may very well be experiencing a case of Seasonal Affective Disorder, commonly (and fittingly) known as SAD.

Though psychologists and physicians somewhat disagree over the scientific basis behind this phenomenon, they’ve been studying it since the ’80s. They’ve found that people generally report a sense of seasonal depression and/or lethargy coming over them in winter months.

This is linked to the lack of daylight – as people in places like Florida report this far less than those in higher latitude areas where the daylight is sparser during the winter months.

Ever felt yourself getting glum for seemingly no reason this time of year?

If you’re experiencing SAD, symptoms range from depression, trouble sleeping, lowered sex drive, difficulty focusing, and even weight gain are all common.

Luckily, there are tangible, simple tips that you can implement whether you’ve already felt a case of Seasonal Affective Disorder coming on or just want to take preventative measures to keep your mood and spirits high.

Breathing practices can help ease literally any ailment. So when you’re feeling extra low, use these 4 Go-To Breathing Exercises For Meditation, Stress Relief, and Overall Wellbeing


Here Are 5 Surprisingly Effective Tips to Fight the Winter Blues and Cope With Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD):


1. Implement Evening Movement and Workouts

Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. And happy people just don’t . . . suffer from SAD. (Name that play on a movie.)

All jokes aside, the benefits of endorphins are proven and numerous. Nothing gets your mood up naturally like a good workout – whether that’s a run, Hot Yoga session, kickboxing, or lifting weights in the gym.

You probably already knew that. But one simple hack to fight away the blues that you may not have thought to try is switching to a nightly routine.

The benefits of endorphins are proven and numerous.

Since the dark times of day are when SAD is oftentimes worse, it makes sense to pump your body up with extra endorphins late in the day versus the morning.

This can help to carry you through the night on a natural high.

Looking for further tips to boost your mood? Yoga May Be Able to Help Relieve Symptoms of Depression – Here’s How

2. Acknowledge It

We’ve all heard the first step to healing just about anything is admitting there’s an issue, and the same is true with seasonal depression.

Rather than trying to swallow your feelings or “tough it out,” admit it! Talk to your friends and fam and let them know what’s going on.

Not only will it relieve any stigma or pent up “ickiness” you may be harboring by carrying it around in silence, but you’ll also probably be surprised to hear just how many other people in your life are going through the same exact thing and keeping it quiet too.

3. Get Social

Though it might be the last thing you actually feel like doing, getting out and about and surrounding yourself with other people is key.

The natural reaction for a lot of us when we’re feeling glum is to want to stay in and Netflix our woes away all alone. And while that may feel good at first, it will only bog you deeper down into your sadness in the long run.

Make it a goal to get out there this winter, even just a few times a week.

Though socialization can feel exhausting and daunting, and it can be hard to coax yourself out of the house, even a quick coffee date with a friend or a walk around a park can shift your mood and perk you up.

Numerous studies have linked socialization and being around others to improvements in emotional and mental health. So make it a goal to get out there this winter, even just a few times a week.

4. Keep Your Diet Clean

When we’re feeling sad, all sorts of ooey-gooey treats and warm comfort foods are generally all we care to eat. After all, who’s ever been down and depressed and craved a salad?

Despite the urge to chow down on comfort foods, try to resist. Loading up on white carbs, sugar, saturated fat, and processed snacks will only further dampen your wellbeing in the long run.

Resist the brief and fleeting mood boost from junk. Instead, reach for fresh seasonal winter produce and protein to stay healthy and energized. (At least most of the time – we’re definitely not against an occasional “treat yo self” meal.)

5. Light It Up

Since the root cause of Seasonal Affective Disorder is the decrease of light, and because of this, less Vitamin D in our systems, one of the most effective things you can do to treat yourself is invest in extra light.

A light box is a handy gadget that provides an artificial light source. It can be used when you wake up for around 20 to 30 minutes and they’re available without a prescription. (Though you should talk to your doctor to see if they recommend a particular one for you.)

It might be dark and cold outside, but there’s no reason your house can’t be glowing and warm.

In addition to loading up on extra light, it also never hurts to spruce up the décor in your home. Hang string lights – a super cheap and doable way to boost your mood. There might not be a ton of scientific backing on this one, but who isn’t cheered up by festive fairy lights around the house?

It might be dark and cold outside, but there’s no reason your house can’t be glowing and warm.


Use These Tips to Help You Cope With Seasonal Affective Disorder This Winter

Though the jury may officially still be out in terms of the scientific backing behind SAD, if you’ve ever experienced it, you know firsthand just how real it is.

It can be crippling trying to live with this seemingly out-of-nowhere seasonal depression, especially during a time of year that’s supposed to be full of cheer and excitement over the start of a new year.

Hopefully, these tips can provide you with much-needed relief from the dreaded winter blues.

Let us know how you cope with Seasonal Affective Disorder in the comments below!

All included information is not intended to treat or diagnose. The views expressed are those of the author and should be attributed solely to the author. For medical questions, please consult your healthcare provider.

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Breath is life and conscious breath work can relax, calm and restore. Learn 4 breathing exercises for meditation, stress relief and overall wellbeing here!
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Emmy Schneider-Green

Emmy is a passionate vegan foodie with a wanderlust spirit. When she’s not working her digital marketing day job or writing, she's probably spending time with her two calico cats, lifting weights, listening to a true crime podcast, or daydreaming (sun & moon Pisces here!)

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