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10 Home Remedies for Seasonal Affective Disorder

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It bothers me when people think that Seasonal Affective Disorder is a made up thing. It is definitely real – it affects me and thousands of other people, most commonly during winter time.  I love summer and being outdoors, so for me the hardest thing about winter is the lack of natural light. I wake up, go to work, and by the time I leave it’s dark out.  For those of you who suffer from seasonal affective disorder as well, here is a list of ten things you can do at home or during your daily routine that can help ease those winter blues. If you have any other remedies that aren’t on the list below, please share them in the comments!

Click on images for sources; lead image source.


1. Get your daily dose of sunlight.

I know it sounds difficult (especially to me, I love my sleep) but try and pull yourself out of bed a little bit early each day, allowing yourself some morning sunlight time – go for a run, take a walk, ride your bike, it’s up to you.  If you can’t get out in the morning (or if it’s still dark when you wake up), make an effort to take a lunch break and sit outside for a bit during the day. The added time in the sun (even if it’s cold out!) will work wonders for your mental well-being.


2. Exercise!

Getting your heart rate up and breaking a sweat is a sure way to raise serotonin and endorphin levels – this will be especially beneficial if you do it in the morning.


3. Eat foods containing tryptophan. 

Many who suffer from seasonal depression experience decreased levels of serotonin, the brain’s neurotransmitter.  Tryptophan is an amino acid known to be a precursor of serotonin, so eating foods that contain it may increase your body’s production of serotonin, thus making you feel better. Turkey (get a nice dosage of this on Thursday!), spinach, bananas, seafood, and egg whites are rich in tryptophan.


4. Cut back on stimulants like caffeine, alcohol and carbs.

They might make you feel better short-term but with every high comes a low, and these can lead to mood swings that can deepen your depression.

visible light

5. Fill your home with light.

Open up the blinds and let those rays in – not only will they act as a natural form of warmth in your home but every added bit of light you can bring into your home will go a long way.

craft supplies

6. DIY time!

Now that you’re not spending every waking moment outdoors, you have plenty of time to get crafting.  Check out our diy projects for some inspiration :).


7. Use essential oils.

Essential oils can be powerful mood-lifters. Jasmine oil is a great anti-depressant that stimulates beta brain wave activity and can make you feel euphoric.  Citric oils like lemon can also stimulate the autonomic nervous system and have a similar effect.

warm colors

8. The warmth of color.

Wear and surround yourself with warm colors. Yellow, orange, and red can stimulate your mood greatly!


9. Try something new.

Enroll in a class that interests you – whether it is yoga, photography, cooking, you name it! It will give you something to look forward to and take your mind off the gloomy winter days.

nimue smit

10. Laugh out loud!

Laughter is the best medicine – it may sound simple but it’s so true! Laughter stimulates endorphins much like exercise. Take some time to watch your favorite sitcom or comedy films and let yourself laugh out loud. It’s the easiest and most effective way to make yourself feel better!

More health and beauty tips from the BLDG 25 Blog.

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Miss Elisa K. -November 21, 2012, 7:44AM

I really love essential oils. They are awesome for everything.

brittan -November 21, 2012, 10:40AM

Thank you so much for addressing this! there are some great ideas in here I hadn’t thought of. Since the time change I feel like my productivity is at such a low! And while countless episodes of 30-Rock make me die laughing, I definitely want to get moving (and making) again! xoxoxo

Kara -November 21, 2012, 2:57PM

Last winter i bought a salt lamp. It has worked wonders for my well being in general.A Himalayan Salt Lamp is made from a chunk of salt crystal rock that was taken from the salt mines found in underground caves in the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains. The Himalayan salt lamp makes use of the minerals that have been preserved for millions of years, releasing their special properties through the introduction of heat from an electric bulb or from the flame of a candle. These special properties emitted from the Salt Lamp are responsible for promoting the health and wellness of individuals via ionization of the air and the eradication of pollution. The special properties of the Himalayan Salt Lamp consist of negatively charged ions that act on the contaminants in the air by neutralizing them and weighing them down so they can no longer circulate. When this occurs, individuals can breathe more easily and many ailments and allergies that frequently afflict them start to disappear. Having the light on in the evenings is also really comforting in the cooler months. Mine only cost about $40AUS, worth every cent.

Ashley -November 21, 2012, 3:09PM

Seasonal Affective Disorder is definitely real, I experience it every winter! Love these tips, I am going to try the essential oils, as well as trying to get out in the sun in the morning time.

Jenny Ekberg -November 21, 2012, 4:47PM

I have this in reverse. I know it sounds really strange but it’s true. I live in Brisbane, Australia, where summer is really, really hot – the heat in the middle of the day almost makes me panic. I get depressed in summer! How weird is THAT? It is summer here now and my remedy is to talk a walk around the city around 5 pm when I finish work and it has cooled down, the air is fragrant and the city is suddenly beautiful.

Jenny Ekberg -November 21, 2012, 4:50PM

PS. and I TOTALLY agree on essential oils.

Lindsay -November 21, 2012, 5:30PM

Kara, do you recommend a place to purchase a salt lamp, or a size?

Kara -November 21, 2012, 5:38PM

They come in all sizes. I have one that runs with a bulb so is electric and plugs into the wall. You can also get smaller ones that you pop a candle in the middle of. I bought mine from Ishka (in Aus). Im sure you could find them online. Ive also noticed when i put my plants near mine they really flourish.

Nika -November 21, 2012, 6:56PM

Thank you so much for this article!

Alexandria -November 22, 2012, 2:01AM

If anyone is interested in trying a new class that’s both relaxing and exercising I’d highly recommend Nia. It’s a combination of yoga, martial arts and dance that focuses on healing your body through movement and being aware of your daily motions. It has done wonders for my mind and body and around this time of year there’s nothing I need more!

Ashley -November 22, 2012, 11:49AM

I second the Himalayan Salt lamp. I have one and I LOVE it. It is beautiful and I can feel a shift in the energy of the room when I turn it on, especially if I am having a “down” day. I also love yoga and Nia. Another thing, the writer of this blog, Julia mentioned is getting outside. Sometimes, this isn’t really possible in the winter so I take a vitamin D supplement and find that to be helpful.

Amanda -November 22, 2012, 12:30PM

Exercise is key for me at this time of year, and I think it is important to note (at least in my experience) that it has to be some cardio everyday, getting your heart rate revving to give the best mood-lifting results. In the past I’ve tried just walking everyday but it just doesn’t do the same.

fp julia -November 23, 2012, 9:04AM

The Himalayan Salt Lamp sounds amazing!!! I’m definitely going to look into that… thanks everyone :)

Sylwia -November 23, 2012, 2:48PM

I use a full spectrum light, it mimics the sun so it’s like natural sun light. You can buy light boxes that have full spectrum lights in them online

Mimi -November 24, 2012, 1:40PM

Snowboarding is always on the top of my list for curing Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Holly Cromer -November 28, 2012, 2:28PM

I don’t do any of these things nearly enough

Morgan -November 28, 2012, 11:45PM

Take a bubble bath!! Some times I just feel cold to the bone and getting in the warm
Tub is the perfect way to warm your whole body. Also you can include the essential oils
For double the relaxation! Grab a cup of tea and a good book to join you in the tub! Just
Don’t get the pages wet!

Morgan -November 28, 2012, 11:46PM

Take a bubble bath!! Some times I just feel cold to the bone and getting in the warm
Tub is the perfect way to warm your whole body. Also you can include the essential oils
For double the relaxation!

Jackeline -December 27, 2012, 7:09PM

I have had a history of SAD and moderate depression at other times of year. Some years back, I stumbled upon an article about the connection between sunlight deprivation, vitamin D deficiency, and mood. Because I’m a stay at home mom often tethered to her desk, I don’t get to enjoy what little sunlight we occasionally have during our long, bleak, Dickensian Midwestern summers. I have found combining a regimen that includes vitamin D, St. John’s Wort, omega-3 and other fatty acids, exercise, and tons of sleep keeps me alert, motivated, and able to home school my babes. I like the bone building stack that comes in Schiff’s Super Calcium 1200 with Vitamin D I like that the serving size is two softgels. I only take one, and get the rest from my diet. I also use a full spectrum light, like Sylvia mentioned above, and it has been a miracle worker!

Spectrum Light -February 18, 2013, 9:54AM

I saw the all image of above in this page. I have been decision from above there are all things about the women things that how they will good health & good manner etc.

Victoria -March 20, 2013, 8:25PM

I also really love essential oils, they have so many wonderful uplifting scents. I would also like to add light therapy to the mix. It’s such a gentle and relaxing way to feel better.

joyanto -May 1, 2013, 12:15AM

thank you for adding this pictures ,here have some good ideas for women good health and good manner.

Chelsea Sawyer -July 5, 2013, 8:45AM

Those are really helpful tips for people suffering from SAD and also insightful to those who are not aware of this disorder. There are bestselling SAD Lights in the market and you can find reviews about these products on this website

Dave -July 27, 2013, 2:17PM

I’d really recommend springing for a light box. Get one with an ionizer and it will give you a pick-me-up right away in the morning. For tryptophan, I’ve found the turkey claim to be mostly urban legend. Take 5HTP supplements.

Oh, and do take a good Magnesium Citrate and 10,000 IU of Vitamin D every day.

Emma -September 15, 2013, 6:38PM

I’m feeling down and I don’t know whether or not this is me. Any ideas on how to find out? I don’t feel down enough to talk to a doctor though, and I don’t care if I get professionally diagnosed

Sarah -December 21, 2013, 11:42AM

Hello there… Just curious, but what about those of us who cannot stand summer. I despise sweating and feeling uncomfortable all summer long….summer is my mood killer. Guess moving to the mountains would be my best bet? : )

Daren -September 9, 2014, 11:26AM

Hi, Sarah…

Sure, not everyone likes summer or the heat, but SAD therapy can be applied with a light therapy box and doesn’t involve heat or sweating or anything like that. I highly recommend getting a SAD light and there is research that suggests that taking Vitamin D helps as well. You can learn more about Seasonal Affective Disorder at

Herb -October 18, 2015, 9:17PM

After being diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder, my doctor instructed that I get out in the sunlight for at least half an hour each morning. After about a month of this treatment, I was feeling much better, but the Missouri weather was getting colder and colder. After resraching the top rated SAD lights (source: ), I finally switched to using a full spectrum lamp on cold mornings, though I still prefer the sun most of the year. I’d like to attest that both strategies work very well, and my Seasonal Affective Disorder hasn’t come back since!

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