5 Natural Ways to Fight Off Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), popularly known as the winter blues or seasonal depression, typically comes about when the days start to get shorter and our exposure to sunlight starts to go down. The symptoms of SAD can vary, and you can feel a variety of changes taking place, slowly or suddenly – everyone is different! 

Typically, however, the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder can include feelings of depression or general melancholy, low energy and constant fatigue, loss of interest in the activities you enjoy, changes in appetite, and even the unwillingness to get out of bed in the morning. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it might mean that you have SAD and that you need to take better care of your mental health and physical wellbeing. 

Luckily, there are some wonderful natural ways to alleviate these symptoms and battle SAD effectively, so here’s what you can do to retain your positivity and zeal no matter the season! 

Preparations start in the fall 

First things first, let’s not forget that SAD is a condition that affects our mind, which means that we need to nurture and improve our mental health in the months leading up to the winter season. You should begin your preparations in the fall when the weather is already starting to get a bit gloomy. 

Instead of waiting for the winter blues to wash over you, make a conscious effort to nurture your mental health, and start focusing on what you can do to welcome the winter season with positivity and zeal.  

Autumn is the season to double-down on your physical activity and the hobbies that make you happy and fill your life with joy. This will make it easier to continue with these healthy habits come winter. Also, start booking fun activities and adventures throughout winter. Short weekend getaways, concerts, restaurants, the movies and the theater – there’s plenty you can book well in advance so that you have a lot to look forward to when winter comes. 

sunny forest in autumn

Embrace the seasonal cuisine 

When we eat seasonal foods, we are more in tune with the natural world around us and we nurture our body with the vitamins and minerals that are optimal for us at that specific time of the year. So, if you want to keep SAD at bay and have fun preparing new and exciting dishes, then you should make sure to source seasonal ingredients and research some invigorating winter recipes.  

This is not just about nurturing your body, of course, as you want to eat these foods to boost your mental health throughout the season. Some of the best foods to achieve this include fish, various nuts and seeds, berries, yogurt and kefir, and of course, a hearty serving of dark chocolate. 

Dinner served in a plate next to a candle and a glass with wine

Optimize your sleep cycles 

Unfortunately, seasonal affective disorder can destabilize our sleep cycles in different ways. Because the lack of sunlight is affecting your circadian rhythm, you may find yourself unable to fall asleep at night, or you may find yourself completely unwilling to get out of bed in the morning – which is the more typical symptom of the two. 

And who could blame you when it’s so gloomy and cold outside and the covers are so warm and toasty. However, this could be a dangerous spiral into seasonal depression, so it’s important to sleep an adequate amount of time and get out of bed at the same time every day. 

To optimize your sleep cycle, you can use natural supplements like Rest Easy that’s specifically designed to ensure restful, rejuvenating sleep with a blend of natural ingredients. More restful sleep will help you feel more energized in the morning and will help you get up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day no matter what the weather may be like outside. 

the girl wakes up and stretches

Draw inspiration from Hygge 

Nobody knows how to stay happy and active during the long and cold winter months like the Scandinavians. Coined by the Danish and the Norwegians, the term Hygge encapsulates a whole mindset and lifestyle around blissful coziness in your own home, making yourself as comfortable, grounded, and content as possible when the weather turns cold. 

Consider embracing this mindset yourself by preparing your living environment for the winter season, which will help you fight off fatigue and mental fog. Take out the warm, cozy clothes and whip out the winter fabrics around the house such as those heavier throws and blankets. Arm your pantry with tea varieties, delicious cocoa and pumpkin spice, and of course, a lot of cinnamon.  

Embrace the aromas of the winter that bring warmth to your home and your mind, and surround yourself with warm lighting to feel happy and content. 

reading a book with a saint and a cup of coffee

Motivate yourself to socialize and stay active 

Finally, make sure to actively prevent yourself from shutting in during winter. You’re not a bear, you’re not supposed to hibernate no matter how warm and cozy your blankets may be, so go ahead and make an effort to continue your active, social lifestyle.

Make it a routine to exercise and walk regularly. Make it your goal to see as much of your friends and family as possible every week. Call your loved ones and organize get-togethers either at home or outside and you will have a lovely, fun-filled winter season. 

girls walking on the sunny day

Winter is on its way but that doesn’t mean that you should fear the winter blues this year! If you make a conscious effort to include these natural ways to fight off SAD into your daily routine, and especially if you include them ahead of time, you should have no problem retaining a positive mindset throughout the coldest, gloomiest months of the year. 

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