This photo shows Link about to do battle with the SAD monster.

Winter is approaching and with it comes SAD.

No, I don’t imply the emotion (though that’s a part of it).

I’m speaking about Seasonal Affective Dysfunction.

Fortunately, we’ve got some suggestions and methods for treating SAD that our On-line Teaching Purchasers use. At present, we’ll share them with you too.

Right here’s what we’ll cowl:

Disclaimer: We’re going to be discussing some points which may be tough for some going by means of a tricky time. Should you (or somebody you recognize) aren’t coping so properly, PLEASE see the hyperlinks on the backside of this text with some assets from all around the globe. Clearly, we suggest discussing this info together with your well being skilled – none of this can be a analysis, however relatively a place to begin for dialogue.

BUT, armed with the suitable weapons, we will chase away the winter monster, and even maintain it in full hibernation.

From right here, psychological well being wizard and resident NF Household Insurgent Correspondent, Dan Schmidt, will take it away:

What’s Seasonal Affective Dysfunction?

As Coach Jim mentions within the video above, Seasonal Affective Dysfunction (SAD) is a temper dysfunction that, spoiler alert, has a seasonal sample. 

(Plus, it’s a very intelligent acronym.)

It’s also referred to as:

  • Winter melancholy
  • Winter blues
  • Seasonal melancholy.

In a nutshell, SAD makes folks with ‘regular’ psychological well being expertise depressive signs at a selected time annually – most frequently winter.

Charlie Brown saying "I always end up feeling depressed."

SAD could be a merciless, highly effective, and damaging arctic foe.

However armed with the suitable weapons, we will chase away the winter monster, and even maintain it in full hibernation.

How Do I Know if I’ve SAD?

This picture shows Mario acting a little SAD

Most of us really feel a bit glum in winter…it’s pure to really feel a bit down.

Chilly mornings, much less time exterior, and typically it’s not as straightforward to get out and do our favourite issues:

A gif of an RV outside

So for lots of us, winter simply sucks a bit. 

We’ve recognized one thing was up for the reason that sixth century, however SAD remained a legendary creature till the Eighties within the West when it grew to become formally acknowledged as a temper dysfunction. Whereas we’re nonetheless not 100% certain of the way it works; it’s fairly clear to see that SAD particularly thrives in cooler, darker climates.

For instance, research present[1] SAD’s prevalence within the U.S. ranges from round 1% in Florida to 9% in Alaska. Trying around the globe, in Oslo, Norway, round 14% of the inhabitants will likely be impacted by SAD,[2] whereas us fortunate buggers Down Below are barely impacted in any respect, with estimates that solely round 1 in 300 Aussies (0.33%)[3] will expertise SAD through the “winter.”

A picture of a sand "Snowman" that says "meanwhile in Australia"

Sure, SAD can happen for some folks throughout summer season and different seasons, however that is significantly uncommon in comparison with winter prevalence.

Widespread SAD signs embody:

  • low temper for many of the day.
  • lack of curiosity in your normal actions.
  • drowsiness and low vitality (lethargy).
  • fatigue, irritability, and extreme temper swings.
  • Irregular sleep patterns (an excessive amount of and/or too little)
  • consuming greater than normal, particularly craving sugar and carbohydrates, resulting in weight acquire.
  • lack of curiosity in stuff you usually take pleasure in doing.
  • intrusive or disturbing ideas.

Melancholy is not only a flowery phrase for feeling “bummed out”, and SAD is simply as critical as every other melancholy and must be handled promptly and successfully. (See the tip of the article for a checklist of psychological well being providers hyperlinks.)

“However how do I do know the distinction between normal winter glumness, or if I’m being mauled by the SAD beast like Leo within the Revenant?”

This gif shows a man being attacked by a Bear, cartoon style.

Ask your self these questions:

  • “Do you are feeling like you possibly can’t get your self out of this rut?”
  • “Have you ever misplaced an curiosity in issues that you simply often take pleasure in?”
  • “Have you ever felt this fashion for greater than two weeks?”

In that case, then it could possibly be time to have a chat with an expert and maybe search therapy. As soon as once more, SAD is simply as actual and might be simply as devastating as Main Depressive Dysfunction; the one distinction is the yearly common onset.

This bitter beast can take over somebody’s total well-being, and if left untreated, the results might be devastating.

So let’s find out how we will slay the SAD, and even higher, maintain it in hibernation this yr, so we nerds can proceed to overcome all yr spherical.

What’s the finest therapy for Seasonal Affective Dysfunction? (Slaying the SAD Beast)

A picture of a Games of Thrones bobblehead, who is about to slay the SAD monster.

As with all harm or sickness boss battle, it is advisable to use the suitable medication weapon to avoid wasting the day. And there are a lot of weapons you possibly can equip your self with to slay SAD.

Right here is the right way to deal with Seasonal Affective Dysfunction: 


Gentle helps the physique produce serotonin (hormone that impacts temper) and reduces the manufacturing of melatonin (hormone that makes you sleepy).[4]

Beginning with pure mild is finest, although it’s not at all times straightforward. If the solar occurs to be peeking out from the clouds, try to get exterior for a pleasant stroll. Even on chilly or cloudy days, out of doors mild may help, significantly within the morning. Simply be sure to bundle up correctly. The Norwegians have a saying “There isn’t a dangerous climate, solely dangerous clothes!”

Additionally, making your work and residential environments as mild and ethereal as doable and sitting close to home windows may help too. 

A gif of someone opening a window to help with SAD

Should you really feel you’re simply merely not in a position to get sufficient pure mild, ‘Gentle Remedy’ is mostly one of many first weapons picked as much as slay SAD.[5] It may possibly begin assuaging signs in only a few days. It’s extremely easy, and sitting below vibrant fluorescent globes or in entrance of a remedy lamp (once more, significantly within the morning) has proven to be efficient towards SAD[6] (Anecdotal, however I as soon as met a younger lady who began to really feel higher simply by growing the wattage of her bed room mild globes).

Be forewarned that Gentle Remedy shouldn’t be applicable for everybody, together with folks with bipolar dysfunction – speak to an expert if this can be a route you need to take.


Shock, shock, our outdated mates come to the rescue as soon as once more. It’s clear[7] that train is vital in preserving the blues at bay, so rug up and take a protracted stroll, and you should definitely work out when doable.

Gonzo knows he has to eat protein to match his strength training goals, but he doesn't eat chicken, for obvious reasons.

Train and different forms of bodily exercise assist relieve stress and nervousness, each of which might improve SAD signs.

Should you’re actually eager to tackle winter, strive the Winter Is Coming Exerciseand begin constructing that summer season physique early. For individuals who don’t just like the freezing climate, that’s cool (get it?), you possibly can at all times do Steve’s 20-minute lodge room exercise (professional tip: you don’t really should be staying in a lodge room to do the exercise… that was $250 I’ll by no means get again).

As for diet – whereas there is no such thing as a well-established hyperlink between wholesome dietary practices and a discount in SAD signs. BUT, studies HAVE proven hyperlinks between wholesome consuming – just like the Mediterranean weight loss plan – and a lower on the whole melancholy.[8]

So something we will do to eat wholesome this time of yr could actually assist.

Plus, Steve has already highlighted that if you happen to’re going to eat unhealthy meals throughout winter, let’s at the least be good about it and negate the affect the holidays have on our waistlines. Attempt your finest to supply a counterbalance to these consolation meals, and maintain your weight loss plan as shut as you possibly can to what it’s the remainder of the yr.


When publicity to daylight is low, your physique makes much less Vitamin D.[9] In line with this research,[10] Vitamin D deficiency impacts almost HALF of the world inhabitants. It is necessary for total well being. Our mates over at Study say that in case your weight loss plan is first rate and there’s just one complement you’re taking, it ought to most likely be Vitamin D throughout these upcoming months.

The analysis is a bit blended in relation to Vitamin D’s effectiveness in battling SAD,[11] however some research[12] do present an enchancment to everybody’s melancholy scale scores (these with or with out SAD). Total, if you happen to aren’t getting sufficient daylight within the winter, contemplate selecting up some Vitamin D!

Suggestions differ for the quantity of Vitamin D wanted – or if you happen to even want it – so additional blood work and a chat together with your physician is an effective selection right here.


Meditation has been proven to assist alleviate signs of melancholy.[13] Now, you don’t should shed all of your worldly possessions and go reside within the mountains:

Aang from the Last Airbender meditating

However if you happen to’re affected by the winter blues, a easy mindfulness follow could assist. Even only a few minutes a day can go a good distance.

If you’d like, Nerd Health Journey has a meditation journey that will help you construct up the behavior.

It’s free to strive, proper right here:


Going again to overseas sayings – there’s a Danish idea of “hygge.”

Whereas there’s no direct English translation, it essentially means coziness and luxury

Issues like:

  • Wrapping your self up in a blanket.
  • Having fun with a great ebook.
  • Or sitting by a heat fireplace.

Garfield sitting by fire

So as a substitute of lamenting the change of seasons – EMBRACE these different experiences that we get to take pleasure in.


Speak Remedy (Psychotherapy) and cognitive behavioral remedy sound scary however actually aren’t.

Psychotherapy focuses on serving to you to construct expertise to take care of the stresses in your life, together with figuring out and altering destructive considering patterns.

Therapies akin to these help with relearning a number of the patterns and ideas in your life that aren’t doing you any good.

(You possibly can learn the Nerd Health Information to Psychological Well being for more information.)

It may possibly really feel daunting and actually bizarre ‘opening up’ to a stranger at first.

However having a coach to speak by means of your destructive ideas and emotions, somebody who can train you to handle these higher, is mostly fairly efficient.

Most individuals will discover an enchancment in as little as two weeks. Actually, the “bizarre” stigma is often the largest barrier to even doing the factor within the first place!


Lastly, some folks with SAD profit from antidepressant therapy, particularly if signs are extreme. We’re not right here to supply any medical recommendation, so please see your physician if you happen to assume medicine could help you.

Transferring ahead with SAD (This too shall go)

A picture of Link in the sun, who overcame SAD

It’s regular to have some days once you really feel down, and the vacation season might be particularly arduous for some.

When brief days and depressing climate are piled on high of this, it’s straightforward to see why ‘winter blues’ is so frequent. However if you happen to really feel down for days at a time and you’ll’t get motivated to do actions you usually take pleasure in, please communicate to somebody and see your physician. That is particularly vital in case your sleep patterns and urge for food have modified, you are feeling a way of hopelessness, you may have intrusive ideas, otherwise you flip to alcohol/substances for consolation or rest.

Above all, care for your self this winter: 

  • Remember to get sufficient relaxation, and take the time to calm down.
  • Take part in an train program or have interaction in one other type of common bodily exercise.
  • Get exterior when you possibly can.
  • Make wholesome selections for meals and snacks when doable.
  • Attain out to a trusted buddy, member of the family, or well being skilled if you happen to really feel you’re having a tricky time.

And if somebody reaches out to you, keep in mindWe’re Rebels, we battle typical knowledge and smash stigmas. By no means depart a fellow nerd behind.

The Rock saying "we have to do this together"

Should you really feel the bitter, arctic beast beginning to rise from its summer season slumber, keep in mind that you’re not alone, and there are methods to slay the frosty fiend. You’re robust sufficient to beat this, and the complete Insurrection has your again.

Need a bit extra from us?

If you wish to proceed your journey with Nerd Health, we’ve got three nice methods for you to take action:

#1) Our On-line Teaching Program: a training program for busy folks to assist them make higher meals selections, keep accountable, and get more healthy, completely.

You possibly can schedule a free name with our crew so we will get to know you and see if our teaching program is best for you. Simply click on on the button under for extra particulars:

#2) If you’d like an actual roadmap for getting match, try NF Journey. Our enjoyable habit-building app helps you train extra often, eat more healthy, and stage up your life (actually).

Plus, we’ve got Missions particularly designed that will help you keep energetic, it doesn’t matter what the climate is like exterior.

Attempt your free trial proper right here:

#3) Be part of the Insurrection! We want good folks such as you in our neighborhood, the Nerd Health Insurrection.

Join within the field under to enlist and get our Insurgent Starter Equipment, which incorporates all of our “work out at residence” guides, the Nerd Health Weight-reduction plan Cheat Sheet, and far more!

Alright, that does it for me. Rebels, care for your self and one another.

Do you may have your personal secret weapon to slay the SAD? We’d love to listen to from all you Rebels about how you retain your thoughts wholesome throughout winter; the extra concepts all of us have, the higher! Tell us within the feedback!

– Dan

PS – Should you, or somebody you recognize, would really like additional help, listed here are some glorious hyperlinks and providers that may get you began in the suitable route:


Picture supply: lilu330 ©

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