How to Tackle Seasonal Depression Resulting from Daylight Savings ‍

Save yourself with the loss of daylight. With the winding back of clocks every year, we enter a period of less daylight leading to shorter days. When you go to work, it’s dark and when you leave work, it is dark.

This transition, unfortunately, may trigger an upsurge in seasonal depression. Also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), this type of depression is typically triggered by the change in seasons and dwindling daylight. So let’s be aware and take care of our people.

Understanding Seasonal Depression

Although the exact causes of SAD aren’t fully understood, we can shed light on some aspects of this condition and changes that ultimately effect our mood. Seasonal depression is linked with the following elements:

  • Circadian Rhythm: Our internal body clock that governs sleep, mood, and appetite. The shift in season and reduced daylight disrupts this rhythm, causing our bodies to struggle to adjust.
  • Sunlight Exposure: The amount of sunlight we receive plays an important role in our mood. Shorter days during fall and winter mean less exposure to sunlight, which can disrupt our body clock and contribute to symptoms of seasonal depression.
  • Winter Solstice: The shortest day of the year, usually falling on December 21 in the Northern Hemisphere and June 21 in the Southern Hemisphere. These are literally the darkest days of the year, as the sun rises at its latest and sets at its earliest.

Seasonal depression can manifest as feelings of depression, heightened anxiety, trouble sleeping, lethargy, overeating, and more. If you notice yourself slipping or your mood changing, you’re normal and you are not alone. What sets SAD apart from regular depression is the timing: the symptoms begin and end at around the same time each year.

Coping Strategies for Seasonal Depression

While dealing with SAD can be challenging, there are several strategies that can help alleviate symptoms. These can be pursued individually or in combination for optimal results.

Consult a Medical Professional

I’ve tried, I’ve gotten the support. It is not bad and has ultimately been a great value add to my life. If you suspect you’re experiencing seasonal depression, it’s crucial to consult with a healthcare provider. It has never been easier with the amount of resources available. They can help you understand your condition better and outline potential treatment options tailored to your specific needs.

Light Therapy

One treatment avenue that your doctor may recommend is light therapy, also known as phototherapy. This involves using a lightbox that emits a bright light to mimic natural daylight. Exposure to this light, typically within the first hour of waking up, can help alleviate symptoms of SAD. If this is something you have to work into your routine, it’s worth a try. 


I know, easier said than done. Maintaining a balanced diet is also essential when dealing with SAD. It’s common for those affected to overeat, especially carbohydrates. Humans will seek comfort in anyway so conscience eating will have to be a priority as we head towards darker times. Although, eating healthily can positively impact both physical and mental health and something we should all strive to optimize each and everyday. 

Maximizing Sunlight Exposure

Since the lack of sunlight is part of the problem, making the most of available daylight is crucial. Spend time outdoors when possible, keep blinds open during daylight hours, and consider working near a window that lets in plenty of light. 

Regular Sleep Pattern

I already feel it. I am not the type to take advantage of the extra hour of sleep. Maintaining a regular sleep schedule is vital as SAD is linked to disruptions in circadian rhythm. Ensure you get enough rest but resist the urge to oversleep and lean into this depression-like symptom. 


We gotta move our bodies. I know it’s challenging when outdoor activities become almost eliminated the colder it gets but there are workarounds offered here. Regular physical activity can alleviate mild to moderate symptoms of depression and anxiety. Exercise can also help regulate your sleep schedule, which is particularly helpful when dealing with SAD.

Stay Active and Socialize

It’s easy to stay inside and not interact with people as much but you have to keep life exciting.

Keeping busy can help distract from the urge to hibernate. This can mean focusing on work, studies, or picking up a new hobby. Socializing is also beneficial. Spend time with loved ones, meet friends for any occasion, or consider other people if you find yourself in toxic environments. I know again, easier said than done. 

Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques

Practicing mindfulness can help manage symptoms of seasonal depression. This can include meditation, breathing exercises, yoga, or positive self talk. You may need to experiment to find what suits you best and what is actually effective. 


Now, here comes controversy. In cases where symptoms are severe and not improving, antidepressants may be beneficial. Hard to admit, but this is why having a strong support system is so critical here. 

The professionals know the symptoms can assess and something’s multiple work together. Discuss this with your healthcare provider to understand more about pharmaceutical treatment options.

Having a psychiatrist who’s the boss paired with a psychologist whom you can rely on to verbalize your such issues has proven to provide patients with better coping mechanisms and treatment plans.

The Impact of Daylight Savings on Seasonal Depression

Daylight savings time can exacerbate symptoms of seasonal depression. The time changes can disrupt the body clock further, leading to an increase in depressive episodes. 

From internally speaking from the professionals within my support group they’ve stated internal findings that indicated an increase in depressive episodes during the transition from daylight saving to standard time and increased in manic episodes when the clocks eventual come forward in the spring. More research to be done there while I was intrigued by this statement. 

Strategies to Reduce Risk for Seasonal Depression

Here are some tips that can help you reduce your risk of developing seasonal depression:

  1. Start Treatment Early: Begin light therapy before symptoms appear.
  2. Travel: If possible, plan a trip to a sunnier location during the time you’re most prone to depression.
  3. Morning Walks: Spend at least an hour walking in the morning sunlight. This can be a useful alternative to light therapy.
  4. Ask for Help: Don’t hesitate to seek help if you need it. Discuss your feelings with friends, family, or a healthcare provider.

Treating Seasonal Depression

There are several effective treatments for seasonal depression, including medications & psychotherapy.


Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can be used for treating seasonal depression. These include fluoxetine (Prozac), sertraline (Zoloft), and citalopram (Celexa). Another medication, bupropion (Wellbutrin), is also approved for treating seasonal depression.


Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can help treat seasonal depression. It involves helping individuals recognize and replace negative thoughts with more positive ones. A special adaptation of CBT, called CBT-SAD, adds a technique called behavioral activation which helps people find activities they enjoy to better cope with winter.

SAD, or seasonal depression can be a challenging condition to deal with. However, with the right strategies and treatments, it’s possible to manage symptoms and lead a healthy, fulfilling life. Stay active, maintain a balanced diet, and don’t hesitate to seek professional help if needed. You are not alone. 

With Love



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