Seasonal Affective Disorder: Do You Get It Too?

Seasonal Affective Disorder: Do You Get It Too?

It’s about to get really dark..but don’t worry we’re in this together. Lots of people have Seasonal Affective Disorder. Yeah it actually has a name. Crazy, right?

Every year about this time I go through a mental breakdown. So with that said, if I go ghost and you only see my prescheduled Wednesday Weekly Wander blog posts just know I’m not dead. I’m probably hiding somewhere binge watching The O.C. or exposing myself to cancer causing UV rays to supplement the lack of light.

With that disclosure out of the way, let’s continue…

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Seasonal Affective Disorder, from here on out referred to as SAD because its “punny”, is a type of depression that typically occurs in the Fall and Winter months. There is much speculation as to why it occurs. Most people know of it as “the winter blues”. But it is a real thing, affecting real people, every year.

Okay story time…

One year, right around Thanksgiving, I had a really bad episode of SAD. We had just moved four hours from our family. To add to that we had moved just West of the mountain time zone border. It’s hard to explain what this means exactly. To put it simply, it means it gets dark sometime between 3:30 and 4 in the afternoon. Not great for someone with SAD. So I curled up in a ball and cried. My wife, my sweet wife, she had no idea what was wrong or what to do. When she asked why I was crying I just said, “it’s dark outside”. My wife has since learned a lot about Seasonal Affective Disorder and has become a great support. But not really knowing what was wrong, she called my mom. That helped, but it didn’t make it go away. Which leads me to my next point…

What Can I Do To Make It Go Away?

The truth is, it might not ever go away completely. I’ve been dealing with this issue a majority of my life. The good news is there are things you can do to help you get through it.

Note: I’m no professional. The ideas listed below are simply things that have worked for me.

Surround Yourself With People

When I start getting depressed in the Fall, I tend to shy away from people. I have to force myself in the opposite direction. Remembering that life exists even in the darkness is always helpful. Even just a phone call with a friend or family member can lift your spirits. Take advantage of the holiday parties that everyone hosts this time of year.

Get A Box Light/UV Light

You can find these on Amazon. I got mine as a Christmas present. The idea is that it will supplement the loss of sunlight and provide you with the necessary vitamin D. You generally sit in front of the light for half an hour one to two times a day. You can even just turn the light on while you’re reading or watching TV. It’s a pretty simple process.

Go Tanning

So I know all the health nuts will be outraged over this one. But the fact is you need the artificial sunlight. I’m not saying you should tan all year long, or even every day for that matter. If you can get to a tanning bed at least once a week during the Fall and Winter it will help immensely.

Go Outside When The Sun Is Up

I tend to struggle with this because my work schedule is very non traditional. If you can, get up with the sun. Go outside. Take a walk, a bike ride, a jog. Even just sitting outside while you drink your morning coffee will help. It may be cold, so bundle up if you need to. The important part is to get out there and soak up the rays.

Turn On The Lights Inside

We all want to conserve energy. But in this time of year, just turn the lights on. It might cost you a few extra bucks on your power bill but it will be worth it in the end.

Use Minimal Holiday Decorations

This goes hand in hand with the last trick. If you love to decorate for the holidays or just live in a very cluttered space, declutter it. Christmas decorations are usually dark greens and dark reds. This only adds to the problem. I’m not saying don’t decorate at all. If decorating brings you joy, do it. Just bring it down a little bit. Maybe get a slightly smaller tree. Try decorating with brighter reds and greens.

Take A Vacation

Sometimes its best to just escape. I recommend traveling to see friends. That way you get the benefit of being around people while still escaping the day-to-day. Try to travel someplace where it stays light out later. Or better yet travel somewhere warmer. Even just a weekend getaway will work wonders.

Use This Time To Your Advantage

I like to use up all my time in the Summer for fun activities with the family. I save all the things on my to-do list for Winter. That way I have so much to keep me busy that the lack of sunlight doesn’t have time to affect me. Prioritize, use your time wisely.

I hope these ideas help in your struggle with Seasonal Affective Disorder. If you have any other ideas or things you’ve tried to keep the winter blues at bay, I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to leave a comment or drop us an email.

11 Replies to “Seasonal Affective Disorder: Do You Get It Too?”

  1. I used to live near Pittsburgh where this was very apparent in a lot of people. Even now going there in the winter months, I wouldn’t say I get full on depressed but I kinda just lose the will to move. I want to sleep the whole time because the sun just doesn’t shine. Even in Florida during hurricane season when the sky is cloudy for weeks on end and the sun doesn’t shine in our beautiful sunshine state, I just super bummed out! I hope this season of short days is not too hard on you and that your tips work well!

    1. I’ve never been to Pittsburgh but I imagine that whole part of the country is a lot like the pacific northwest in the winter, dark.

    1. Northern Canada, wow! You probably had it way worse than we’ve got it here. I think on our shortest day we still get somewhere around 7 to 8 hours of light.

    1. Thank you. I just want to enlighten people with this information. There are a lot of people that go their whole lives not knowing what this is or that they suffer from it, let alone a way to fix it.

  2. I experienced the polar night for the first time last year and eight days later after no sunshine, I was definitely not a happy camper! Luckily for me in South Africa, we have wonderful sun shiny weather for most the year!

  3. I have seen this affect a lot of people. I always want to cut my hair in the cold months! Why is that? But I actually really like Fall and Winter. I am more sad when it’s too hot. Ha!

  4. I had never heard of the SAD before. But loved the frank tips on such a touchy topic! Guess more lights help take off some of that gloom too! Electricity bills notwithstanding!

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