How to Cope with Seasonal Sadness

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is no joke. I never really noticed I get the blahs until I moved to Pennsylvania. I’ve always lived in warm sunny states. During the fall, winter, and spring months, I feel blah and uninterested in most activities.

Our first year living in PA, I distinctly remember shoveling snow in late April, telling my husband it is not supposed to snow in the spring. I remember asking him why anyone would choose to live in a state where you had to shovel in April. I’m pretty sure I was ranting because we obviously chose to live in a state where I had to shovel in April. I remember being frustrated that I had to wear my winter coat at the end of May.

May!!! It’s ludicrous!

Now that I’ve lived here for four years, I know what to expect and those things don’t bother me as much. Unfortunately, I still get the symptoms every year.


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So, what is SAD?

SAD is a type of depression that occurs when the season changes. It usually affects people in either the fall/winter months or spring/summer months.



Typical symptoms include: 

  • Feeling depressed

  • Loss of interest

  • Low energy

  • Sleep loss (spring/summer)

  • Sleeping too much (fall/winter)

  • High appetite (fall/winter)

  • Low appetite (spring/summer)

  • Weight gain (fall/winter)

  • Weight loss (spring/summer)

  • Feeling blah (fall/winter)

  • Feeling anxiety (spring/summer)

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Negative feelings such as guilt or hopelessness

  • Thoughts of death and suicide


When to get help

It can be confusing to understand the difference between feeling blah and straight up depression. It’s best to seek help when you feel you need help and if any of your symptoms have been lasting for long periods of time and/or interrupt your normal activities and routines. Also, seek help if you are using drugs or alcohol to cope or you have thoughts of death or suicide.


Ways to treat SAD

There are many ways to treat minor symptoms of SAD.

  • Continue normal routine and activities

  • Eat a balanced diet of fruit, vegetables, lean protein and fats

  • Up your vitamin D intake

  • If you’re unable to find fresh produce, eat frozen produce

  • For fall/winter SAD, plan a vacation somewhere warm and sunny

  • Exercise

  • Spend time with pets

  • Declutter your home

  • Spend time outdoors

  • Spend time in the sun and open all blinds and curtains

  • Light therapy

  • Meditate

  • Engage in activities you enjoy

  • Socialize

  • Consistent sleep schedule

  • Speak to a profession or attend therapy


Do you have any tips on how to deal with SAD?