9 Healthy Ways To Fight Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

It’s that time of year.

The time of year when I just want to sleep in. And take a nap. And go to bed early. (Not that I ever get a chance to do any of those things, but, you know, I want to.)

The time of year when I find myself lacking energy, battling anxiety, feeling irritable, and acting very much like Eeyore with my “ho-hum” response to pretty much everything.

Winters are hard for me, and I know I’m not alone.

9 Healthy Ways to Fight Seasonal Affective Disorder. If winters are emotionally hard for you, you may suffer from SAD. Here are some great ways to treat it.

Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as SAD, is a type of depression that occurs at the same time every year. Symptoms usually begin in the fall, and can continue on into the long winter months. And, parents, it’s important to remember that kids can be affected by SAD, too. Seasonal Affective Disorder is known to be more common in areas where winter days are very short or there are big changes in the amount of daylight in different seasons. 

What Seasonal Affective Disorder Looks Like

  • Feeling sad, grumpy, moody, or anxious
  • Losing interest in your usual activities
  • Eating more and craving carbohydrates, such as bread and pasta
  • Gaining weight
  • Lethargy, lacking in energy, unable to carry out a normal routine
  • Sleeping more and feeling drowsy during the daytime
  • Social problems, irritability, not wanting to see people

What You Can Do About It

If you find yourself mentally checking things off of that symptoms list, realizing that you may be struggling with Seasonal Affective Disorder, there are some things you can do to help yourself deal with SAD safely and naturally. If, at any time, your symptoms seem too much, please consult with your doctor.

  • Light box therapy – The object of light therapy is to mimic summer light levels during the winter. There are a number of medically approved light boxes on the market, with many available on Amazon. They can be a bit expensive, but many SAD sufferers report great improvements in their symptoms within a relatively short period of time. If your symptoms are impacting your life, a light box may be a very worthwhile investment.
  • Sit by a sunny window – Take advantage of any natural light you can get!
  • Try to get outside – Especially on sunny days! I’ve been known to take an unscheduled ride into town just to spend 20 minutes with the sun in my face without actually sitting outside in the arctic Minnesota temps.
  • Get a good night’s sleep – Easier said than done, I know, but try to keep a consistent sleep schedule, going to bed early enough to get an adequate amount of sleep each night. The lethargy and drowsiness of SAD is bad enough without getting behind in your sleep. This is not a good time for chronic-late-night-it-is.
  • Eat a balanced diet – Make sure to get some fresh fruits and vegetables. The simple carb cravings can get intense during the long winter months, whether you suffer from Seasonal affective Disorder or not. Make sure you are eating real foods, and make sure you’re getting something fresh every day. Good food matters!
  • Take your vitamins – Try taking a quality multi-vitamin supplement every day. Unless you’re growing all of your own food in incredible nutrient-dense soil and catching wild salmon on a regular basis, there’s a good chance that your diet isn’t getting you all of the vitamins and nutrients you need to function at your very best. A good supplement will help. I’ve been taking SuperMom vitamins for the past couple years, and I can definitely tell when I miss too many days.
  • Get out of the house – Even if it’s just to get groceries, try to get out of the house frequently. It’s easy to stay inside way too much when it’s cold and dreary out. Warm up the car, put on a warm coat, bundle up the kids if you need to bring them with (it’ll be good for them, too), and go for a drive. Run to the post office, grab a few groceries, or just drive around for a while letting the toddler take her nap in the car that day. Just get out, break up the monotony, and get the blood moving.
  • Get your exercise – Try out the latest popular workout DVD. Use the treadmill that’s been holding up all of those clothes for far too long. Take advantage of the “personal trainer” on your Wii or Xbox. Or try my personal favorite, and challenge your kids to a little Just Dance competition. Just do something! Try to get moving for at least 15 minutes every day. It will feel good, and it will help you keep from putting on those extra pounds that seem to accumulate over the winter (especially if you’ve been giving into your carb cravings).

And last, but most definitely not least…

  • Make time with God a priority – When we’re feeling blah, it can be way too easy to put off the things that are the most important to us, like diet and exercise, and even our quiet times with the Lord. We may feel like we just don’t have the energy, or the brain power, to spend time in the Word, or on our knees in prayer, but these are the times when we need to the most. He loves us, He understands, and He wants us to turn to Him for help to get through the hard seasons!

Winters can get to be long, especially up north (I’m in Minnesota), but there is a bright side. There is always a bright side, and when it comes to winter, the bright side is that each and every one is followed by spring!

Sharing at Growing HomeThe Sassy Slow CookerWalking Redeemed, Raising Mighty ArrowsMissional Women A Mama’s Story.


  1. Great suggestions! I used to use full spectrum lights when I lived further north. Now I’m in Arizona, and love the longer days and year-round sunshine. But I remember getting the mid-winter blahs very well.

  2. I know many people who are affected by this. Good tips. Sharing it now.

    • I believe it’s more common than most people think. Knowledge is power, and people need to know that there are things they can do to deal with it naturally rather than turning to medication, or perhaps worse, not dealing with it at all. Thank you for sharing!

  3. Kimberly says:

    I’m a San Diego native who’s now lived in the Twin Cities area of MN for 12yrs and this SAD condition is one that I’ve only recently been made aware of. It plagues me so deeply that I don’t recognize myself after half the winter has gone by. This one has been the worst thus far. I am so greatly appreciative of your tips and friendly reminders. God is good to have brought me to your site. :)

  4. I can’t even imagine how difficult winter’s must be in your area. I am in Alabama, but even so I feel the struggle begin around daylight savings time and it gets worse from then until sometime in mid March. It seems especially bad this year because I was already dealing with some emotional issues. Taking it one day at a time. Thanks for the ideas.

  5. Lyndee Dees says:

    I was surfing for info on how to naturally deal with SAD when I found your site. These are all good tips! Thank you so much, though, for adding the most important one: Time with God! <3

  6. To overcome a lot of my SAD, I take Cod liver capsules once a day…. twice a day for colds. It seems that the increased vitamin D3 helps ward off the symptoms of SAD!
    Sure I still get the blues on cloudy days, but they are not as bad as they used to be!

  7. You can get regular light bulbs at Home Depot for a few dollars that simulate daylight. I also take a Vitamin D supplement. It sure helps after suffering every winter for over 20 years. I thought it was me, but then they actually named it and I found I’m not alone.

  8. I am prone to this and in addition to the above suggestions I have found that Vitamin D3 works wonders. I usually take more than the suggested amount but most people are deficient anyway.

    • Trisha Gilkerson says:

      Yes, I take quite a bit of Vitamin D too. I have my doctor check my D levels frequently, so I’m able to titrate the appropriate amount of D. I like my levels to be in the upper quadrant, for optimal health.

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