How I deal with the winter blues

how I deal with SAD

For decades, as soon as autumn hit, I’d notice depression start to appear.

My mood would basically deteriorate throughout the winter months, and by the time April rolled around, I’d be a mess, barely able to drag myself of out bed in the morning, feeling like a limp dish rag and having gained anywhere from 5 to 20 pounds in 4 months.

Nope, not fun.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) affects up to 3% of the population each winter, and I am one of those lucky few. Looking back, I realize I’ve lived with it for decades.

But it’s only been in the past 5 or so years that I can say I’ve learned to overcome, and just about eliminate, my symptoms of SAD.

In today’s video, I talk about some of the more common approaches to dealing with Seasonal Affective Disorder, which ones I’ve tried personally, and what worked best for me.

Question:  Do you suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder? What are some of your strategies to deal with it? 


  • Why winter days can negatively affect your mood
  • Who tends to be the most prone to getting SAD
  • Which “feel good chemical” is deficient in those with SAD What laughing does
  • How I get more daylight exposure
  • Two herbal treatments that have been shown to work
  • Ways to use our brain’s neuroplasticity to counteract SAD
  • One trendy approach that actually works


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  1. Hi Ricki. I just watched your very, very informative video about dealing with SAD. As someone who has dealt with major depression for many years, not only during the cold winter months, I would like to offer some additional ways to conquer these feelings. You are absolutely spot-on with exercise! Because your energy levels dip to -25 when in the throes of depression, it’s very, very difficult to make yourself even move. BUT moving is exactly what you need. I would suggest people start out slowly, but frequently. You are spot on about smiling and laughing, too, so I would suggest watching a silly comedy movie. I would also suggest keeping social media to a minimum of reaching out to uplifting friends and (sorry for the honesty) canning the negative ones. This is very important if you live alone, like me. We don’t realize how much Ms. or Mr. Sadsack have the ability to add to our misery until we cut them out of our lives. Making a list of things to be thankful for will also help you to see through the fog or keeping a journal. For some reason, simply putting our thoughts down on paper helps to give them a place to be stowed away, sort of like hanging your worries on a “worry tree.” Don’t forget to treat yourself to something that truly makes you happy, whether it be a trip to the pet store to look at all the sweet animals, sitting at the mall to do some people watching, or taking a ride to somewhere scenic (for me, that’s the local reservoir to check out the migrating, visiting ducks). There are lots of free activities out there, just waiting to be explored. We all need rewards, even if they’re just little ones.

    My most difficult times are when I’m sick 🙁 (like right now). I’ve been stuck in my apartment for a week now. Though I’ve felt crappy, I’ve still tried to practice self care and have tried to accomplish at least a few things, which always makes me feel better. As a bird lover, I also hang a feeder at my balcony so I’m visited by my feathered friends.

    The other thing I do during these yucky winter months is to start planning what hiking trails I plan to explore once the weather cooperates. I’m really into photography, so this is a good time for me to organize my photos and plan short trips to new destinations for more photos. You have to do something to get your spirit uplifted. P.S. These down times are also a good time to consider a new hobby!

    I’m also post menopausal and have found a very good herb, which has helped me to counteract my PM fog, tiredness, and lack of sleep, which is Maca Root. Of course, since our serotonin is produced in our guts, you are spot on (again) in encouraging people to keep the gut happy with nourishing foods. I really think the deluge of sugary foods pushed over the holidays has something to do with our SAD, too. Why do we (meaning the good people of the U.S.A.) continue to do this, Ricki? Some traditions are just not meant to be kept!

    Thanks for letting me add to your great advice, Ricki! Happy New Year to you!

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