Eight ways to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder

Winter is here and with it comes the chance of suffering from seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, so we’ve got the best remedies to treat the winter blues.


Light boxes are one of the most common and effective ways to treat the symptoms of SAD. Just 30 minutes a day can make all the difference. They create a simulation of sunlight which can boost your mood and even improve your sleep.


A lack of sunlight is thought to be one of the main causes of SAD, and sunlight gives you a well-needed dose of vitamin D. A vitamin D supplement every morning can help alleviate the symptoms of SAD, or find an extra dose of the sunshine vitamin in foods like fish, eggs and cheese.


Finding the motivation to exercise can be difficult on the best of days, but even harder when suffering with SAD. Fitting exercise in to your daily routine can help your brain release feel-good chemicals like serotonin and endorphins. For a double whammy, head outside and exercise to get as much sunlight as possible.


Craving carbohydrates comes hand in hand with SAD, but resisting this urge and eating a balanced diet can help improve your mood. Stock up on fruit, veg and fish to get the most benefits out of your diet. For when you can’t resist, try eating lentils, brown rice or potatoes, these can help you fight the urge to snack on high-sugar carbs.


Getting a good night’s sleep can be one of the most challenging parts of having SAD. Dawn simulators can help get your sleep routine in order. Using a gradually brightening light, they mimic the sunrise to wake you up and can be used instead of a traditional alarm.


Using aromatherapy to treat SAD is the perfect excuse to buy a new candle or diffuser. Essential oils can influence the part of your brain that controls your mood, so they can be used to help tackle SAD. Lavender, lemon and bergamot oils have all been proven to help with various forms of depression, including seasonal affective disorder.


Making a daily schedule can help ensure you make the most of the few daylight hours there are in winter. It can help you incorporate these remedies throughout your day, around work and social events, and overall can put you on the path to a better night’s sleep.


If creating a schedule or testing out some home remedies doesn’t work for you, treat yourself to a break somewhere sunny to catch some precious rays. The French Alps, Mexico and Malta all get soaked in sun over the winter months.

Follow Family Life on Twitter and Instagram for tips and tricks over the festive season! 

Family Life

Family Life is Scotland's premier lifestyle magazine, packed with recipes, reviews, real life stories and more. Pick up the lates issue FREE in a supermarket near you.

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