Got SAD? 5 Ways to Beat Seasonal Affective Disorder

So you’ve got SAD? Aka Seasonal Affective Disorder? If you’re unfamiliar with the term, SAD is a mood disorder characterized by depression that occurs at the same time every year. This usually takes place in the wintertime when people get less daylight than usual. Sound familiar? It sucks, but it doesn’t have to be that way. 

Whether you’re used to a city like Seattle with regular overcast in the colder months, or you’re coming from sunny LA and just moved under cloudier skies for the first time, here are some tips on how to combat SAD, because SAD does not have to be a choice!

1. Replace SAD with Endorphins

Okay, here me out. If you’re not the “workout” type, there’s no better time to start. This doesn’t mean you have to become a gym shark – going on walks around your neighborhood park works, too! It’s no question that exercising gives you those feel-good hormones, so if you’re feeling sad, what better way than to replace those feelings of SAD with happy endorphins? Feeling mentally healthy has a lot to do with how your physical well-being is. So go on that walk your dog, or sign up for that yoga class you’ve had in mind for your new year's resolution. You’ll thank me later x

2. Change Your Light Bulb

Change your light! No, we can’t really control how much daylight we have (unless you decide to move to Portugal or something), but an easy way to combat SAD is to change out your light bulb! Warm lights (more yellow light) have been shown to help with sadness that comes with the winter blues, so try it out! If you can, I love using my rock salt lamp in the evening time when it gets dark. I got mine as a gift from Earthbound, but you can find them anywhere! When I have it on, I feel so cozy that I forget that it’s cold outside.

3. Reset Your Sleeping Ritual 

To complement the tip above about getting more warm light into your abode, winter is a great time to reset your sleeping ritual and try to get that daylight in the early morning. Daylight savings sucks, but your days will feel less short if you can catch the daylight early when it’s out! If you’re a night owl like me, this is probably the hardest step, but the key to waking up early is to make a new sleeping ritual. Bring out the chamomile tea, pick out a great book to read before going to bed, and STAY OFF YOUR PHONE!! Did I already say stay off your phone?? 

4. Surround Yourself With Loved Ones

You know, winter is “cuffing season,” but this doesn’t mean that you’ll have to be freezing out in the snow forever alone. Take this opportunity to spend more time with your friends and family. It can be easy to lock yourself in your room and barricade the doors (which is also great and time alone to recuperate is essential), but your friends can be a support system during SAD time. If some of your friends are home during the holidays, have a get-together and go ice skating or something! There are bound to be some fun activities around your city/town, and if not, make your own fun event! Calling someone you love also works, too, and will help you feel less alone during the months of SAD. 

5. Pick Up a New Hobby

This might seem random, but it is never a bad time to pick up a new hobby. When you’re feeling down, it can be hard to find the motivation to do things that would normally make you happy, so something that can help get you out of that slump is to try something unconventional. Ever wanted to learn the drums? Ask that drummer friend to teach you! Thinking about starting a YouTube channel you always wanted to start? DO ITTT. Working on diversifying yourself is not dependent on the weather, and you’ll be too busy to think about SAD. SAD who???

Seasonal Affective Disorder sucks, but we shouldn’t let the time of year affect our well-being too much. Hopefully, these tips help, but if not, my friend says French Polynesia is a pretty place to be right now :)