How I manage Seasonal Affective Disorder

Updated: Feb 7, 2020

There was a time when winter brought with it a debilitating sadness, an inability to go outside after dark, and 8 pm bedtimes. For a few years in a row, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) completely ruled my life in this way, but through clever self-trickery I think I’m starting to get the hang of it.

Here’s what I do to keep SAD at bay as best I can:

  • Take daily vitamin D and vitamin C tablets.

  • Set a SAD lamp to come on before my alarm in the morning.

  • Eat plenty of carb-heavy winter food.

  • Get the bus straight to the gym after work to prevent myself getting trapped in the house.

  • Force myself to do the above even though I really don’t want to because I know I’ll feel better once I’m there.

  • Arrange to hang out with people despite the fact that sometimes all I want to do is curl up in bed and wait for the day to be over.

  • Have a hot chocolate.

  • Get creative by writing, sewing or painting while watching a film in the background.

  • Go for a walk on days when it’s nice outside.

  • Wear my favourite moose pyjama bottoms and new fluffy slippers.

  • Be kind to myself when curling up in bed is the answer.

In winter I stand like a penguin (© James Fleming)

While I find winter challenging, there are also so many things I love about it. I love long walks on crisp winter days. I love curling up at home with a fire. I love having an excuse to get crafting. I love Christmas music. I love seeing animals breathing out steam (especially horses, cows and deer). I love snow. And this year, I get to learn to ski! So there are plenty of reasons not to let SAD make me sad, I just need to trick my brain into remembering them.

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Photo Disclaimer: All photographs are property of Sophie May Watts or James Fleming unless otherwise stated.

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