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 have now some suggestions and methods for treating SAD that our On-line Teaching Shoppers use. Right now, we’ll share them with you too.

Right here’s what we’ll cowl:

Disclaimer: We’re going to be discussing some points that could be troublesome for some going via a tricky time. When you (or somebody you understand) 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 advocate discussing this info along with your well being skilled – none of this can be a prognosis, however slightly a place to begin for dialogue.

BUT, armed with the fitting weapons, we are able to push back 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 extremely intelligent acronym.)

It’s often known as:

  • Winter melancholy
  • Winter blues
  • Seasonal melancholy.

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

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

SAD generally is a merciless, highly effective, and damaging arctic foe.

However armed with the fitting weapons, we are able to push back 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 little bit glum in winter…it’s pure to really feel a little bit down.

Chilly mornings, much less time exterior, and usually 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 little bit. 

We’ve recognized one thing was up because the sixth century, however SAD remained a legendary creature till the Nineteen 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 can be impacted by SAD,[2] whereas us fortunate buggers Down Beneath are barely impacted in any respect, with estimates that solely round 1 in 300 Aussies (0.33%)[3] will expertise SAD in the course of the “winter.”

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

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

Widespread SAD signs embody:

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

Melancholy is not only a elaborate phrase for feeling “bummed out”, and SAD is simply as critical as some other melancholy and must be handled promptly and successfully. (See the top of the article for a record of psychological well being companies hyperlinks.)

“However how do I do know the distinction between common 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 may’t get your self out of this rut?”
  • “Have you ever misplaced an curiosity in issues that you simply often get pleasure from?”
  • “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 remedy. As soon as once more, SAD is simply as actual and may 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 implications may be devastating.

So let’s learn the way we are able to slay the SAD, and even higher, maintain it in hibernation this yr, so we nerds can proceed to beat all yr spherical.

What’s the finest remedy 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 every damage or sickness boss battle, that you must use the fitting drugs weapon to avoid wasting the day. And there are a lot of weapons you may equip your self with to slay SAD.

Right here is find out how to deal with Seasonal Affective Dysfunction: 


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

Beginning with pure gentle is finest, regardless that 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, outside gentle can assist, notably within the morning. Simply be sure you 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 gentle and ethereal as potential and sitting close to home windows can assist too. 

A gif of someone opening a window to help with SAD

When you really feel you’re simply merely not in a position to get sufficient pure gentle, ‘Mild Remedy’ is mostly one of many first weapons picked as much as slay SAD.[5] It will probably begin assuaging signs in just some days. It’s extremely easy, and sitting below vivid fluorescent globes or in entrance of a remedy lamp (once more, notably 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 rising the wattage of her bed room gentle globes).

Be forewarned that Mild Remedy shouldn’t be applicable for everybody, together with individuals with bipolar dysfunction – discuss to an expert if this can be a route you wish to take.


Shock, shock, our previous associates come to the rescue as soon as once more. It’s clear[7] that train is vital in conserving the blues at bay, so rug up and take a protracted stroll, and make sure to work out when potential.

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

When you’re actually eager to tackle winter, strive the Winter Is Coming Exerciseand begin constructing that summer season physique early. For many who don’t just like the freezing climate, that’s cool (get it?), you may 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 vitamin – whereas there isn’t 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 typically melancholy.[8]

So something we are able to do to eat wholesome this time of yr might actually assist.

Plus, Steve has already highlighted that when you’re going to eat unhealthy meals throughout winter, let’s at the very least be sensible about it and negate the affect the holidays have on our waistlines. Strive your finest to offer a counterbalance to these consolation meals, and maintain your weight loss plan as shut as you may to what it’s the remainder of the yr.


When publicity to daylight is low, your physique makes much less Vitamin D.[9] In accordance with this research,[10] Vitamin D deficiency impacts almost HALF of the world inhabitants. It will be significant for total well being. Our associates over at Look at say that in case your weight loss plan is respectable and there’s just one complement you’re taking, it ought to in all probability be Vitamin D throughout these upcoming months.

The analysis is a little bit combined with regards 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). General, when you aren’t getting sufficient daylight within the winter, think about choosing up some Vitamin D!

Suggestions differ for the quantity of Vitamin D wanted – or when you even want it – so additional blood work and a chat along with your physician is an effective alternative right here.


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

Aang from the Last Airbender meditating

However when you’re affected by the winter blues, a easy mindfulness observe might assist. Even just some minutes a day can go a great distance.

If you would 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 very good ebook.
  • Or sitting by a heat hearth.

Garfield sitting by fire

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


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

Psychotherapy focuses on serving to you to construct expertise to cope with the stresses in your life, together with figuring out and altering adverse considering patterns.

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

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

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

However having a coach to speak via your adverse 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 most important barrier to even doing the factor within the first place!


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

Shifting ahead with SAD (This too shall cross)

A picture of Link in the sun, who overcame SAD

It’s regular to have some days while you really feel down, and the vacation season may be particularly onerous for some.

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

Above all, care for your self this winter: 

  • Be sure you get sufficient relaxation, and take the time to calm down.
  • Take part in an train program or interact in one other type of common bodily exercise.
  • Get exterior when you may.
  • Make wholesome selections for meals and snacks when potential.
  • Attain out to a trusted pal, member of the family, or well being skilled when you really feel you’re having a tricky time.

And if somebody reaches out to you, bear in mindWe’re Rebels, we combat typical knowledge and smash stigmas. By no means go away a fellow nerd behind.

The Rock saying "we have to do this together"

When you really feel the bitter, arctic beast beginning to rise from its summer season slumber, bear in mind that you’re not alone, and there are methods to slay the frosty fiend. You’re sturdy sufficient to beat this, and your entire Rise up has your again.

Need a little bit extra from us?

If you wish to proceed your journey with Nerd Health, we have now three nice methods for you to take action:

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

You may schedule a free name with our workforce so we are able to get to know you and see if our teaching program is best for you. Simply click on on the button beneath for extra particulars:

#2) If you would like a precise roadmap for getting match, try NF Journey. Our enjoyable habit-building app helps you train extra ceaselessly, eat more healthy, and degree up your life (actually).

Plus, we have now Missions particularly designed that will help you keep lively, it doesn’t matter what the climate is like exterior.

Strive your free trial proper right here:

#3) Be a part of the Rise up! We’d like good individuals such as you in our group, the Nerd Health Rise up.

Enroll within the field beneath to enlist and get our Insurgent Starter Package, which incorporates all of our “work out at dwelling” guides, the Nerd Health Food regimen Cheat Sheet, and way more!

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

Do you will have your individual 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 – When you, or somebody you understand, would really like additional assist, listed below are some glorious hyperlinks and companies that may get you began in the fitting course:


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