How to Combat Seasonal Affective Disorder


The fight against seasonal affective disorder is real y'all.  When the days begin to grow shorter and the weather turns cool, the majority of us find ourselves spending an increased amount of time indoors.  While its natural to want to hibernate in the winter months, the lack of sunlight and amount of time indoors can quickly lead to seasonal affective disorder (SAD).  The exact cause of SAD is unknown at this time however it is thought to be that with the limited exposure to sunlight that we receive in the winter months, our internal biological clock that regulates mood, sleep and hormones is shifted.   The change from day to night prompts the release of the sleep-related hormone called melatonin, which tells our brains that is time for sleep and controls our natural circadian rhythm.  When the days are shorter and darker, more melatonin is produced, which is believed to disrupt the normal circadian rhythm, leading to SAD. Typical symptoms of SAD include hopelessness; anxiety; irritability; loss of interest; fatigue; weight gain; difficulty concentrating, sleeping or making decisions; and a decrease in energy.  The good news is that there are a few ways to treat SAD such as light therapy and an increased intake in Vitamin D and Omega-3 fatty acids.

Ways to Help With Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.)

Light Therapy


Proven to be the most effective treatment for S.A.D., light therapy involves sitting beneath or in front of a light box that produces a very bright light.  This light artificially simulates sunlight, helping to reset the circadian rhythm of the body.


Vitamin D


Taking a Vitamin D supplement is another effective way for fighting against S.A.D.  It has been found that most Americans are in fact Vitamin D deficient, especially in the cooler winter months.


Omega-3 Fatty Acids


Omega-3 fatty acids are known as "the healthy fats" that can be found in raw nuts, seeds, superfoods, and fish.  There is a good amount of research that suggests that increasing omega-3 fatty acid intake enhances many aspects of brain function, including the control of mood and lowering the risk of depression. 



Felts, Lauren.  C'mon Get Happy: 6 Ways to Beat Seasonal Affective Disorder.  The Chalkboard Magazine, 2015.