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Keep SAD at Bay as the Darker Days Draw Near

 Man setting on a bench feeling depressed - Image Courtesy of Pexels

Rather fittingly, Seasonal Affective Disorder forms the acronym SAD. Once a shunned issue, SAD is now recognized by most experts. SAD is when you negatively shift into depression with the changing of the seasons with less sun. Here are some tips to keep SAD at bay.

Old Wive's Tales?

There are a few things you can do to beat SAD. And like most medical disorders, there are certain foods you can try. Food can cause chemical changes in your body for temporary relief from medical issues. The earliest forms of medication were herb-filled recipes. Soup is one of the oldest, and chicken is commonly used for cold and flu. Studies have found that chicken soup (try this easy chicken noodle soup from cookthestory.com) has anti-inflammatory properties. Yet the warmth and memories of soup can also relieve stress and remind you that life isn't so hard.

Keep SAD at Bay with Sun Lamps

Commonly known as the winter blues, SAD affects around 10% of the population, meaning it is a very real issue. Therefore, you shouldn't feel silly about feeling depressed as the seasons change. Unfortunately, however, there isn't a definitive treatment for SAD because it isn't widely studied. Yet people who experience SAD have had some success with sun lamps. Sun lamps mimic the hue and rising of the sun and will gradually get brighter at a time you set. This can trick your brain into thinking the sun is rising earlier than it really is and help alleviate SAD.

Share Your Thoughts

One of the best things you can do about SAD is simply talking to someone. Therapists can help you work through SAD. And there may be an underlying cause that has nothing to do with the seasons. Additionally, you can use technology to your advantage if you can't face seeing a therapist. You can find support groups online and on social media. And most trained therapists will consult you using remote apps like Zoom and Teams. Talking to someone about your feelings is a standard way to lighten the burden and get things off your mind.

Focus on Understanding and Improving Yourself

It can be challenging to get depression out of your mind on one of those days. One day you're okay, and the next, you can barely get off the couch. But getting up and improving some parts of your life is a great help when combating SAD. Here are some suggestions:

  • Help increase serotonin with exercises like aerobics, running, walking, and dancing.

  • Artistically release and express yourself by painting or sketching your feelings.

  • Journaling is among the most effective ways to help with feelings of depression.

  • A dream diary can be helpful for understanding what your subconscious mind is feeling.

  • Make realistic plans for achieving life and health goals and work towards them.

The idea behind this is to get your mind to focus on the things that will actively improve your life rather than drag you down. Of course, some days will be harder than others. But the worst thing you can do is allow SAD to disrupt your life to the point of hurting relationships or your job.

Stick to Your Routine

A powerful method of alleviating many disorders is routine. Like switching your focus, a routine can keep you steady and on track. It can be hard to stick to a new routine at first, especially if it's different than what you are used to. But after around a week, your brain will become wired to accept your new routine as if you have always done it. If you're having trouble, smart technology such as Alexa or apps on your phone can help you stick to routines. You can use these to set reminders, alarms and inspire you with your favorite music or even quotes of the day.

Go Outside to Help Keep SAD at Bay

A link with people with SAD is they react to less sunlight during colder seasons like autumn and winter. It is believed less exposure to sunlight might stop a specific part of the brain from working properly. As a result, this decreases the production of melatonin, a hormone that makes you feel sleepy. And people with SAD may make more of it than usual. However, you can simply go outside to get the sunlight you need. Consider working outside if you can, or ask to move your desk near a sunny window at work. You will also get more vitamin D this way.

Try Some Supplements

Vitamin D from sunlight might help alleviate the symptoms of SAD, but the condition extends more than that. An increase in melatonin will make you feel more sleepy and depressed than usual. In turn, you can get the dreaded “brain fog”. Which is a nightmare when you need to work. Fortunately, there are some supplements you can take that have had success removing brain fog. Formulations with B vitamins and minerals like zinc, thiamine, and ginkgo Biloba are commonly used to treat brain fog. Supplements of N-Acetyl-Cysteine Amino Acid can also help.


Seasonal Affective Disorder is a misunderstood condition that can severely disrupt your life. However, there are some effective ways you can keep SAD at bay. These include eating comforting recipes such as chicken soup, focusing on your life, and certain supplements.

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