Seasonal Affected Disorder

We set our clocks back and now we’re all experiencing a bit more darkness. Unless you adjust your schedule (sleep, work, life) then you’re probably waking up when it’s dark and leaving work when it’s dark. I feel fortunate that I have a flexible schedule and can walk to meetings during the day, take a walk at lunch and actually see the sun when I want.

I do remember, however, what it was like before all of that. It’s easy to go into hibernation mode, eat more and exercise less.

First of all…you’re normal.

When it gets cold and dark, it’s normal to want to cuddle on your couch and eat mashed potatoes. It’s tied to traditions, natural habits and the desire to be warm. I truly believe that we need to give ourselves a little grace.

What is Season Affected Disorder?

SAD is depression associated with late autumn and winter and thought to be caused by a lack of light. SAD is thought to be caused by a disturbance in the sleep-wake cycle. Less sunlight leads to higher levels of the hormone melatonin, which can affect mood. Most of those affected by SAD tend to be women.


Since SAD is considered a type of depression it’s common for people to be prescribed medicine. Since we try to avoid treatment like this, we thought we’d give you a few ways to combat this disorder:

  • Consume high quality animal-based omega-3 fats: Your brain consists of about 60 percent fat; DHA specifically, so you need a constant input of essential omega-3 fats for your brain to work properly. According to Dr. Mercola, the most beneficial source I know of is krill oil, which has been found to be 48 times more potent than fish oil.
  • Exercise: In addition to a large number of other health benefits, physical exercise is one of the most potent strategies you can employ to prevent and treat all kinds of depression.
  • Avoid sugar: Sugar (and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), which is the number one source of calories in the U.S. in the form of soda) has a very detrimental impact on your brain function.
  • Switch to full spectrum light bulbs: In order to achieve natural balanced sunlight inside, your bulbs must contain a full spectrum of color (imagine all the colors of the rainbow). These bulbs support health immune systems and mood.
  • Increased Vitamin D: We wrote a post about how to achieve that here.
  • Take an afternoon off or go outside during your lunch break! Or take a trip to somewhere warm… 

Are you affected by SAD? Have you found anything specific to help?

1 thought on “Seasonal Affected Disorder

  1. Caviar and Quarters says:

    I just found a new (new to me) yoga studio this week & have been attending their hot vinyasa yoga classes. It definitely helps to feel energized and warm when it’s cloudy and freezing outside.


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