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Taking Care of our Mental Health – Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

SAD syndrome

SAD syndrome

What is seasonal affective disorder (SAD)?

Our daily lives can get pretty hectic. With the hustle and bustle of routines, it’s easy to forget to take breaks for your mental health too.

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that you experience during particular seasons or times of year. Depression is a low mood that lasts for a long time, and affects your everyday life.

If you have SAD, you’ll experience depression during some seasons in particular, or because of certain types of weather or temperature. You can experience it in winter or summer.

It’s common to be affected by changing seasons and weather, or to have times of year when you feel more or less comfortable. For example, you might find that your mood or energy levels drop when it gets colder or warmer, or notice changes in your sleeping or eating patterns.

But if your feelings are interfering with your everyday life, it could be a sign that you have depression. And if they keep coming back at the same time of year, doctors might call this seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or ‘seasonal depression’.

How can I help myself?

Living with SAD can be difficult, but there are lots of things you can do to help yourself cope. This page has some suggestions for you to consider.

Different things work for different people at different times, so if something doesn’t feel possible just now try not to put pressure on yourself. You can always try something else or come back to it another time. For example:

If SAD affects you during winter, there are particular things you could try that might help. You could:

  • Make the most of natural light. It might help to spend time in natural light, for example going for walks, spending time in parks or gardens, or simply sitting near a window. This seems to be helpful if you experience SAD in winter.
  • Plan ahead for winter. For example, try to make meals in advance and freeze them if you know you are likely to lack the energy to do this during the most difficult period.

Talk to someone

It can be hard to reach out when you’re not feeling well, but it might help to share how you’re feeling. If you don’t feel you can talk to the people around you or you need additional support, you could contact a helpline such as:

For more options, see our page on helplines and listening servicesMind’s Infoline can also help you find services that can support you.

Other links which may help you are: Tips on staying grounded during the festive season | Samaritans 

What self-care can I do for seasonal affective disorder (SAD)? – Mind



Controlled breathing - Samaritans