Posted on: 16 November, 2021

4 Ways to Combat SAD | What is Seasonal Depression?

What is seasonal depression? This week, we're looking at 4 helpful strategies to help reduce the effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder.

What is seasonal depression?


If you experience low moods during the season changes, you may be prone to Seasonal Affective Disorder; a type of depression that usually presents itself in the autumn/winter months.


This week, we’re exploring how to combat the effects of SAD:

What is Seasonal Depression? | Boosting Motivation

Seasonal Affective Disorder can leave you feeling low. This is often due to a lack of serotonin in the brain – a hormone which is largely responsible for our mood levels. When you’re feeling low, you may feel less motivated to do your usual hobbies and activities.


To help combat this, it’s a good idea to try and find ways to adjust the activities you enjoy so that they are more achievable. For example, you may wish to switch up your exercise routine. If you usually exercise in the evening, but you find that the dark evenings make you tired, why not try exercising in the morning?


Shorter days and darker evenings are thought to be the main triggers for SAD, so engaging in your favourite activities whilst it’s still light outside can help you to feel more relaxed and satisfied as the evening draws in. 

SAD: Adjusting Your Sleep Schedule

Seasonal depression can affect your sleep cycle. This is because sunlight helps to regulate your melatonin production, keeping you feeling awake and alert in the daytime, and gradually more tired as the sun sets. This is a natural rhythm, and one that can be disrupted by several factors – such as seasonal changes and overusing technology.


To help reduce the effects of a disrupted circadian rhythm, you should try to improve your sleeping habits. Many of our devices emit blue light, which stimulates the brain and can be harmful to our natural circadian rhythm. To ensure a healthy sleep pattern, it’s a good idea to switch them off at least an hour before you go to bed.


Caffeine is a stimulant, too – so try to limit your intake before bedtime. Why not switch to a decaf alternative, or try a soothing herbal tea?


Whilst it can be tempting to press the snooze button after your alarm wakes you up, try to resist the urge. It’s much more beneficial to get up and practise some gentle stretches to help you prepare for the day ahead.

What is Seasonal Depression? | Sunlight Exposure

Sunlight is essential for overall health. It’s a great source of vitamin D, which is essential for maintaining healthy bones and muscles, whilst also enhancing mood and strengthening the immune system.


A lack of sunlight, and therefore vitamin D, can lead to feelings of anxiety and/or depression. At this time of year, many people like to support their diets with vitamin supplements, which not only boosts mood but also helps with the essential absorption of calcium. SAD lamps are popular, too; they imitate natural sunlight and when used in the morning, can help to set you up for the day ahead.

Seasonal Affective Disorder: Maintaining a Healthy Diet

Often, a low mood can cause you to crave sugary foods. Your body seeks comfort food to feel better; and whilst it can help you feel happier in the short-term, it’s not a sustainable long-term option for your mental and physical health.


A poor diet can dampen productivity, creativity and motivation. Try to ensure that throughout the autumn and winter months, you continue to eat a healthy, balanced diet.


Try batch-cooking healthy meals so that if you’re feeling low and unmotivated, you have nutritious food readily available to prevent unhealthy snacking. You could also try some healthier alternatives for dessert, such as a fruit salad. For something a little more indulgent, why not try these flapjacks?


If you’ve found this blog helpful, why not try reading our previous post, which offers tips on how to be happy?

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