Winter got you down? Head for the light

Does your mood seem to mirror the seasons—maybe growing darker as the fall and winter days get darker and lifting as the brighter days of spring approach? You may have a condition called seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

Shining a light on SAD

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) can cause you to feel tired, crave carbohydrates, gain weight, avoid things you normally enjoy, withdraw socially during the fall and winter months, and sleep too much.

If you have SAD, these things may help you feel better:

  • Get more sunlight. Try taking walks outside or sitting near a window during the day.
  • Take care of your general health and wellness. Exercise, eat a healthy diet and spend time with family and friends.
  • Consider light therapy—daily exposure to bright, artificial light from a light therapy box.

If those steps don't help, your doctor may recommend taking medicine for depression.

Source: American Psychiatric Association; National Institute of Mental Health

reviewed 6/13/2019

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This information is provided for educational purposes only. Individuals should always consult with their healthcare providers regarding medical care or treatment, as recommendations, services or resources are not a substitute for the advice or recommendation of an individual's physician or healthcare provider. Services or treatment options may not be covered under an individual's particular health plan.