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How to Take Control of Seasonal Affective Disorder

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Muhlenberg chapter.


The cold months have crept in and made their residency this year. No sun and low temperatures are already a bummer, but Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) can be a seriously draining addition to anyone’s winter. SAD is a mood disorder in the depression category that recurs at the same time each year, usually beginning in fall and leading into winter. Symptoms of SAD mainly include fatigue, depression, hopelessness, and social withdrawal. If you or someone you know feels they might have SAD, here are some ways to cope with the cold before spring has sprung.


Light Therapy

Author and Physician Dr. Rosenthal was responsible for the first-ever report on the benefits of light therapy for SAD (health.com). Light boxes and bright-light-emitting lamps are on the market that specifically help with SAD can easily be found online. These lights allow patients to receive 20-60 minutes of cool-white light a day. Dr. Rosenthal noted that “when light hits the retina of the eye, it’s converted into nerve impulses that pass back to specialized regions of the brain that are involved in emotional regulation.” If you also live in a location where outdoor activities are still bearable in the winter, consider going for walks or runs in the sun to allow natural light exposure as well.



Everyone has different levels and comforts of fitness, but hitting the gym or going for a jog could greatly help with SAD. Getting a steady, fast heart rate can help reduce symptoms of depression. Being consistent with a workout routine can help because of the “good feeling” neurotransmitter levels that rise in the brain. 


Although the feeling of depression can make it seem like junk food is the only friend, it truly is the enemy. These unhealthy foods do the same to a person mentally as they do physically. Fried, sugary, heavy carbs, or heavily processed foods can actually worsen depression symptoms. Eating healthy fruits, vegetables, protein, and fiber can help with fighting depression symptoms this winter. Working through cravings and choosing to eat healthy will benefit your body and keep vitamins consistently benefiting your mind during or after SAD symptoms prevail. 


Carly Giacoio

Muhlenberg '22

Carly Giacoio is currently a junior at Muhlenberg College who originally is from northern New Jersey. She plans on graduating with an English major and Creative Writing minor. Carly also enjoys singing, composing music, and writing poetry in her free time.
Yanet Ocampo