The Winter Blahhhhhhs…

February 20, 2020

The Winter Blahs - Seasonal Affective Disorder

Do the winter months leave you feeling tired, unmotivated or down?

Without the steady dose of sunshine of the warmer days, its quite easy to feel the “BLAHS”. 

S.A.D (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is a form of depression that follows a seasonal pattern, usually beginning in the fall and becoming worse by the wintertime months.   People living in the Northern regions suffer at a higher rate, and women make up about 75% of the documented cases. 

What exactly causes Seasonal Affective Disorder? Its hard to pinpoint the exact cause of the disorder, but we know that diminished sunlight has a cascading effect, resulting in a disruption to the circadian rhythms.  When the internal “clock” is unbalanced our  mood, sleep, and hormones may all shift, leading to a depressed state.


  • Increased Need for Sleep
  • Irritability
  • Lack of Energy
  • Anxiety
  • Sadness
  • Social Withdrawal  

The depression symptoms of  S.A. D  can sometimes be confused with other conditions, so its best to consult with a health professional to run basic testing. 


Incorporating just a handful of ideas can do a lot to alleviate depression.  Remember that in order to experience great results, consistency is key.  Make a self-care plan that can be implemented daily (even on very dark or cold days).  Consider keeping a journal to track when you feel your best, and what you are doing on those days.  

Exercise –  Aim for at least a  few days of exercise that gets the heart rate up for 30 min or more.

Spend Time Outside… Every Single Day- natural light and fresh air will do wonders!!   With busy schedules (and less hours of light), it may be hard to find time to sneak away, but even 5-10 minutes outside will begin to help.

Nourish the Body with Whole Foods – it goes without saying that getting ample nutrients to the brain, gut, and rest of the body is critical to overcoming depressed moods.  Take time to plan your meals. And, have the fridge stocked so you are never without proper nourishment.

Light Therapy – many studies show that exposure to 15-30 minutes of  light first thing in the morning is supportive of mood improvement.  There are many light boxes online that can easily fit on the desk or table to provide an early morning boost.

As always if the depressed mood goes on for an extended period of time, or the above suggestions provide no relief, seek further advice and testing you’re your healthcare provider.  

Francesca Quinn
Naturopathic Doctor Denver
(720) 310-0797
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