Don’t forget to check out last week’s blog on coping with seasonal depression. This is part 2 of the seasonal affective disorder. Most of my information came from the Mayo Clinic.

While the first part of the blog focused on the symptoms of SAD and examining whether or not you have winter, spring, or summer SAD, today will focus on possible solutions.



Some people with SAD benefit from antidepressant treatment, especially if symptoms are severe.


Psychotherapy, also called talk therapy, is another option to treat SAD:

Make your environment sunnier and brighter. Open blinds, trim tree branches that block sunlight, or add skylights to your home. Sit closer to bright windows while at home or in the office.

Get outside. Take a long walk, eat lunch at a nearby park, or simply sit on a bench and soak up the sun. Even on cold or cloudy days, outdoor light can help — especially if you spend some time outside within two hours of getting up in the morning.

Exercise regularly. Exercise and other types of physical activity help relieve stress and anxiety, both of which can increase SAD symptoms. Being more fit can make you feel better about yourself, too, which can lift your mood.

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Eat a healthy diet

While people with SAD crave comfort foods — starchy carbs, sweet treats, and more — eating that way ensures you’ll look and feel worse.

Instead, focus on a SAD-busting, healing diet. Lots of lean protein, leafy greens, and fish will keep hormones in check and boost serotonin levels.

When you do get the urge for carbs, choose complex, whole-grain varieties, like whole-grain pasta and bread, instead of nutrition-deficient white carbohydrates.

Try an Anti-Inflammatory Diet and take a daily antioxidant multi-vitamin/mineral supplement to meet your needs for all the essential nutrients.

Cut out caffeine, sucrose (sugar), and alcohol 

Which one of these solutions would you like to try? What’s easiest for you to begin with?  Who can help you with some of these solutions?



Some people choose to take a supplement to treat depression, such as:

  • St. John’s wort. 
  • SAMe. 
  • Melatonin. 
  • Omega-3 fatty acids. 
  • Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin
  • Fish oils

Mind-body therapies that may help relieve depression symptoms include:

  • Acupuncture
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Guided imagery
  • Massage therapy


Mood-lifting essential oils include bergamot, lemongrass, and clary sage. Lavender is relaxing. Essential oils from the poplar tree were found to help depressive disorders in a 2015 study out of Beijing that was published in the Journal of Natural Medicines.

Some general tips for coping with seasonal depression:

  • Take care of yourself. Get enough rest and relaxation. Exercise or engage in regular physical activity. Make healthy choices when eating and avoid alcohol and drugs.
  • Practice stress management. Learn techniques to manage stress. Unmanaged stress can lead to depression, overeating, and other unhealthy behaviors.
  • Socialize. Try to connect with people you enjoy being around. They can offer support, a shoulder to cry on, or a joke.
  • Travel. Take winter vacations in sunny, warm locations if you have winter SAD or cooler locations if you have summer SAD.

Set Goals and Create a Daily Routine

Create manageable goals. These might be very simple, to begin with – for instance you may have decided to exercise every day.  Join a gym or go for a walk.

Your goals should benefit you and your well-being. Meditating for 10 minutes every morning is one example and it’s free.

Get a journal to write down what you’re thinking or feeling.


When to see a doctor

If you feel down for days at a time and can’t get motivated to do activities you normally enjoy, see your doctor. Also if your sleep patterns and appetite have changed or if you feel hopeless, think about suicide, or turn to alcohol for comfort or relaxation.

Take signs and symptoms of seasonal affective disorder seriously. As with other types of depression, SAD can get worse and lead to problems if it’s not treated.

Treatment can help prevent complications, especially if SAD is diagnosed and treated before symptoms get bad.

What you can do

Before your appointment, make a list of:

  • Symptoms, such as sadness or lethargy.
  • Depression patterns, such as when it starts and what makes it better or worse
  • Mental or physical health problems 
  • Major stressors or life changes 
  • Medications, vitamins or supplements all with dosages
  • Prioritize Questions to ask your doctor
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What action can you take to feel better? What can you do right now to treat SAD? Do you need to see a doctor or other professional for support? What other support do you need?

Take Actions from the 2-part series on coping with seasonal depression and treating Seasonal Affective Disorder:

  • Do you have SAD? Become aware of the symptoms and record anything you have been feeling, any patterns of depression you may have.
  • If you have SAD, create a game plan.  Think about things such as diet and exercise, alternative therapies, planning a trip, and a daily self care plan.
  • Set goals and create daily routines.  Do not have to be huge and chunk down into manageable steps.
  • Who has your back?  Who will be your support system? Who can you check in with to make sure you are okay, doing better or can tell you when it is time to seek professional support?
  • Get professional help if you need it!  There is no shame in this!

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