Save - spend life happy

spend life happy

SaveHealth & Wellness 8 Tips for Coping with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

8 Tips for Coping with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Coping with seasonal affective disorder symptoms can be tough! Try these tips and tricks to help you stick to your treatment plan and start feeling better.

8 Tips for Coping with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) can make the winter months harder than they need to be! Thankfully there are some practical steps that you can take to lessen the symptoms and make getting through the cold and dark a little easier.

What is seasonal affective disorder?

Seasonal affective disorder is a type of depression that usually occurs during fall and winter. Symptoms are typically mild and then become more severe as the season continues. Here are some common seasonal affective disorder symptoms you might experience:

  • Feeling down or sad for most of the day, every day
  • Activities that you used to like aren't enjoyable anymore
  • Craving carbohydrates or overeating
  • Weight gain
  • Low energy and sluggishness
  • Feeling tired even when you've slept enough

Can you get seasonal affective disorder in summer?

Seasonal affective disorder is much less common in the summer months, but some people do experience it. The symptoms are usually a bit different from those of winter depression and tend to start in late spring and last through summer. Symptoms can include:

  • Weight loss
  • Increased irritability
  • Decreased appetite 
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Anxiety or agitation

Treatment for seasonal affective disorder

If you think you might have seasonal affective disorder, then your doctor should be your first stop. They'll be able to give you a proper diagnosis and help you to understand your symptoms. Usually, treatment involves:

  • Light therapy using special lights for seasonal affective disorder
  • Medications like anti-depressants
  • Meeting with a therapist to help you better understand SAD and find practical ways to keep your symptoms at bay or handle them when they pop up

What else can I do?

1. Lights for seasonal affective disorder

If you're struggling with SAD then your doctor will most likely suggest that you use a seasonal affective disorder lamp. The lamp mimics sunshine and can cause chemical changes in the brain. Light therapy can help you get through the long, dark winter months with fewer symptoms. Your doctor will be able to suggest a good lamp. Seasonal affective disorder lamps aren't regulated by the FDA, so it's important to choose a good one and not just buy a cheap version online. 

They're typically used for 20 to 30 minutes first thing in the morning - it can be pretty boring, so grab a book, check your emails or listen to a podcast while you do your lights. Not sure where to start? Try one of these free (or almost free) book apps, browse this list of funny podcasts, or start planning a fun family summer!

2. Spend time outdoors

Sunshine is good for you and spending some time outdoors can help lift your mood. Watch the sunrise, take a hike or drink your coffee in nature. It doesn't need to be anything special, just choose something that you love to do outdoors!

3. Get some exercise

Getting regular exercise can make a big difference to your mental health! It can help you deal with depression, increase your energy levels, fight anxiety, and improve your sleep! The trick is to find exercises that you enjoy doing. Thankfully, there are so many options to choose from! Is there a sport that you love? Would you like to take an exercise class? Even just taking a walk can help a lot! If you choose something you love, you're far more likely to keep up the habit.

4. Practice good sleep hygiene

Not sleeping well can really take its toll when you're battling seasonal affective disorder! Thankfully there are a few things you can do to help you get a better night's sleep! 

  • Go to bed around the same time every night
  • Make sure your bedroom is dark, relaxing, and quiet
  • Limit electronic use in your bedroom - Televisions, phones, and computers will keep you awake
  • Cut down on caffeine and alcohol
  • Avoid large meals before bed
  • Get some exercise during the day. As we said before, exercise leads to better sleep. Just make sure you're not exercising too close to bedtime!
  • Start a relaxing bedtime routine. This could involve a cut-off time for screens and a relaxing bath - whatever helps your wind down
  • Try a sleep app to help you fall asleep

5. Eat nutritious meals

Craving carbohydrates is a common symptom that people with SAD experience. Unfortunately eating unhealthy food just makes you feel worse! It's a tricky vicious cycle! Making some healthy food choices can help you feel better! There's no need to cut the carbs completely - just choose meals that are fueling your body and giving you all the nutrients you need. Try these warming low-cost meals - they're healthy comfort food at their best!

6. Connect with people

SAD can make you withdraw and avoid social interactions. At first, avoiding people might feel better, but in the long run, it's just going to make you feel worse. Spend time with friends you feel comfortable with, join an exercise class, or phone someone you miss! Struggling to think of ways to connect? Here are 9 ways you can get more involved in your community! No need to overwhelm yourself, just choose the ones that seem manageable!

7. Start early in the season

The best defense is a good offense! Starting your treatment before you begin to feel really bad can help keep the SAD symptoms at bay. No need to wait until you have symptoms. Using your seasonal affective disorder lamp might be boring, but starting your treatment early in the season can make a really big difference!

8. No need to be perfect!

Dealing with seasonal affective disorder symptoms can be really tough! You're not going to get everything right every day - and that's ok. Just keep doing your best to follow your treatment plan and make choices that will help you feel well. You've got this! 

Give us more ideas!

Save has all the best ideas to help you live a joyful life without breaking your budget. Make your own bath bombs, try a delicious peanut sauce, or use these kitchen hacks to help you save time and money! There's so much to learn and explore!

Getting the best deals can make a big difference to your budget. Make sure you never miss out on's Coupon Book Finder will help you stay on top of all the latest bargains! It's super quick and simple! Just enter your address to find out where you might find Coupon Book offers in your neighborhood.