Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that is triggered by a change in seasons. Here are 9 ways to get rid of winter depression
Winter depression or seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression caused by a change in seasons, which typically begins in fall and continues throughout winter.
Sometimes referred to as the winter blues, winter depression can be effectively managed with a few simple remedies.
9 ways to combat winter depression
- Going outdoors: Reduced sunlight during winter can cause SAD symptoms. Going outdoors in the sun for a few hours each day can therefore help combat symptoms of depression and improve mood.
- Position yourself near a window: Since getting adequate sunlight can help fight winter depression, try to position your workspace near a window that gets some amount of natural light.
- Get enough exercise: Exercise is an important part of combating the winter blues and has many benefits to both physical and mental health. Taking walks or doing some form of exercise on a daily basis can help boost your mood and combat depression.
- Use a light box: Phototherapy boxes are devices made with fluorescent lights that mimic sunshine. You can sit 15-25 inches from the light box for at least 30 minutes a day, preferably wearing a special light visor. Experts recommend using light boxes in the morning and not later in the day so as not to disrupt your sleep cycle.
- Use a dawn simulator: Dawn simulators mimic the effect of dawn, producing light that gradually increases in intensity to wake you from sleep.
- Take vitamin D: If your vitamin D levels are low, vitamin D supplements may help improve SAD symptoms.
- Stick to a routine: If you have trouble sleeping at night, try to maintain a regular schedule throughout the day so that you are getting up, eating, and going to sleep at consistent times every day. This can help reduce symptoms of SAD.
- Aromatherapy: Aromatherapy may help treat winter depression by affecting the area of the brain that is responsible for regulating moods.
- Talk to your doctor: Your doctor can confirm a diagnosis of SAD and provide appropriate treatment.
Medically Reviewed on 4/27/2022
National Institutes of Health. Seasonal Affective Disorder. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/seasonal-affective-disorder
Harvard Health Publishing. Shining a light on winter depression. https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/shining-a-light-on-winter-depression