Sunshine + Seasonal Affective Disorder

Sunshine and Seasonal Affective Disorder
Here comes the sun, doo-doo-doo-do
Here comes the sun and I say, it’s all right
Little darling, it’s been a long, cold, lonely winter
Little darling, it feels like years since it’s been here

When this Beatles song came on the radio the other day, I wished they were singing about our upcoming weather forecast.

If you’ve lived in Toledo for at least one winter, you know what I’m talking about. How can the sun’s rays not shine through the clouds at all for so many days in a row? The cold is so much more bearable when the sun is out. Before moving here, sunshine in the wintertime was something I took for granted.

It wasn’t until my second winter here that I realized I actually noticed when the sun came out; something I never gave a second thought about before. It was then that I realized the lack of sun was impacting my mood and attitude more than I thought. I became irritable and cranky with those closest to me and felt my energy was constantly depleted. After some research, I learned about Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and began to understand the reason for my mood.

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

SAD is defined by the Mayo Clinic as “a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons — SAD begins and ends at about the same times every year. If you’re like most people with SAD, your symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody.”

One Way to Help

One of the treatments for SAD is light therapy, which I personally find helpful. January is generally the hardest month for me, so I use my light therapy lamp more frequently to get through the endless cloud-covered days. I open all the blinds and shutters to let as much light as possible into the house. When the sun does come out, I savor the moment because I never know how long it will be until it appears again.

One of those moments occurred a few weeks ago. Our kids were both sleeping and my husband was running errands. I’d spent all morning meal prepping and still had more tasks to complete. Before continuing, I decided to take a short break. Instead of flipping through my phone or turning on the TV, I sat down and took a few deep breaths.

Then the most wonderful thing happened – the sun came out and was streaming through our living room window!

In those precious moments, I soaked in the sun, enjoyed the stillness in my house, and reset my mood. I wiped the slate of the frustrations and hustle of the morning and went into the afternoon with a more patient and positive mindset. Amazing what a little sunshine and silence can do!

When the sun isn’t shining, I’ve found a few other ways to improve my mood on these dreary winter days:

  • A good dance party with the kids always perks me up
  • Taking a walk around the block when the weather is warm enough
  • Baking cookies and muffins with my son
  • Acupuncture helps me to rest and recharge

And remember, as the Beatles say:

Here comes the sun, doo-doo-doo-doo
Here comes the sun and I say, it’s all right
It’s going to be all right.


I’d love to hear what works for you – how do you combat the winter blues?


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here