Easy Remedies for Beating Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Mood is a hot topic in the winter time (and always) because so many are plagued with Seasonal Affective Disorder during these long, dark and cold months. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a major cause for depression for many during the fall and winter months- especially here in the Northern Hemisphere (but can happen in the Southern Hemisphere during their fall and winter as well). One of the major causes for SAD includes less amount of light daily, and less intense light during winter months.


There are many different types of treatments for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and depression in general- some involving behavior change, and others involving medication. While everyone requires different types of treatments, there are certainly benefits from practicing habits that can help to boost mood.


Although these recommendations may not cure your SAD, they may be able to help you feel better through the winter months either on their own or in conjunction with other medical treatments.


Top 6 easy (and natural) remedies for boosting mood to beat SAD:


  1. Wake up early: Because the daylight is limited during winter months, you want to avoid missing as much of the daylight as possible. This means waking up early (enough) so that you can reap the benefits of spending as much time in natural light as possible. If you’re someone who usually sleeps late due to your schedule- try to wake up even 20-30 minutes earlier to let in more light. Research suggests too that sticking to a schedule with sleep can also help boost mood.


  1. Get outside: One of the biggest things that can promote SAD and affected mood is how much time we typically have to spend inside during winter months- cold, yucky weather is usually the culprit for us staying inside. Try to make it your business to get outside for 20-30 minutes more than you already do during these winter months (summertime is easier no question). An easy activity for you might be to go for a walk outside.


  1. Spend time with fido (yours or someone else’s); Research does suggest that time with pets, for example dogs, can be naturally mood boosting. So if you have a pet, try spending more time wth them- they’ll thank you! If you don’t have one, you can spend time with a friends pet or with those at your local animal shelter (they’ll thank you too!).


  1. Eat mood-boosting foods: Certain foods contain benefits to mood-, for example:
    1. Dark green leafy vegetables – they’re rich in b vitamins, magnesium and folate- three nutrients important for mood, brain health and sleep
    2. Omega-3 rich foods like wild salmon and chia seeds – some research suggests that this type of fat may help to boost mood
    3. Mushrooms exposed to UV light (they’re richer in vitamin D that can help to promote healthy chemical production in the brain),
    4. Tart cherries- because they contain melatonin- a key chemical that can help to promote sleep
    5. Dark chocolate- it contains magnesium and dark chocolate can also promote production of both endorphins and serotonin- important for mood boosting – another common recommendation for SAD is to include more protein and fewer starchy carby foods because the protein can help promote dopamine (feel-good hormone) release and prevent too much insulin release- which can help to keep mood more steady too.


  1. Exercise more: Exercise and movement can help the brain produce more of those “feel good” chemicals that can help with promoting balanced/good mood. Any movement is better than none, but try to aim for 20-30 minutes daily.


  1. Try a “happy” lamp: This is one of the most common recommendations for anyone with SAD because this lamp simulates natural sunlight, and may for some help to improve mood.


If you’re looking for other posts and information on boosting mood, see below.