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How to Deal with the “Winter Blues” aka SAD

*This conversation is sponsored  by Verilux*

Winter can be rough. And by rough, I mean more than just the snow, ice, and cold. Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD, seriously effects 4-6% of people in the US. Around 20% of people suffer from a milder form of SAD.

Personally, I have a milder form of SAD. I have major depression which does effect me year round. While I’m a big believer in getting medically treated for depression, I also know that you have to want to be better. But during the winter time, it becomes a little bit harder for me to make that extra effort.

How to Deal with the "Winter Blues" aka SAD

To ‘officially’ have SAD, you have to show pretty serious depressive symptoms for two years. That would be the 4-6%. But I believe that you know yourself the best and if you can tell that you tend to become depressed during the winter months, you are probably part of that 20%.

Symptoms of SAD are basically the same as ‘normal’ depression.

  • low energy
  • over eating + weight gain
  • feeling like hibernating instead of doing things you enjoy
  • oversleeping
  • irritability

So what causes SAD?

  • A drop in serotonin which can be caused by lack of sunlight
  • The overproduction of melatonin which can be caused by lack of sunlight

Aka, blame the sun.

Luckily, there are a ton of ways to help combat SAD. The most basic ways are to stick to a schedule (waking up at a specific time and going to bed at a specific time) and exercise. Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy (and to finish the quote….happy people just don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t.) Yes, I totally just quoted Legally Blonde.

One of the most common ways to treat SAD is to use a light box. I’ve started using a Verilux Happylight Liberty lamp. I try to use it every weekday for at least 30 minutes a day. Because I work from home, from my desk, it is easy for me to turn it on during my first half hour of work. Some days I also use it for a bit after lunch, especially on the dark, cloudy Michigan winter days.

It is recommended that you use your light box between 20-60 minutes a day. I’d start with 20, see how you feel and add more as you feel is needed.

I’ve found that when I use the light box during the afternoon, it also helps give me a boost to keep me awake. I get tired a lot, which doesn’t bode well when you have to work.

No matter how you decide to treat SAD, it is important that you treat it. Try a light box. Talk to your doctor. But please, don’t just do nothing. You deserve more than that.


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3 Responses

  1. Becki says:

    I remember in college figuring out I felt better in the winter if I went to a tanning booth sometimes. Sounds like the new option is a lot healthier overall. Thanks for the info!

  2. Thanks for sharing this idea. Hope it really helps those with S.A.D ‘coz everyone truly deserves to be happy no matter the season.
    Christina Strickland recently posted…Living Simply Series: Maintaining a Decluttered HomeMy Profile

  3. Crystal says:

    I have one and it helps along with d3. I suffer from sad.

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