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SAD – Seasonal Adjusted Depression

Many people experience mood changes during the winter season. The long dark days can lack colour and energy so affecting how we feel usually on a temporary basis. For some the low mood and lack of energy starts in the Autumn and continues for an extended time during the Winter. 


Seasonal Adjusted Depression or SAD significantly impacts 6%, a sizeable proportion of the UK population (source:

Symptoms can range from mild to severe including the speed of onset and duration.  A visit to the GP can provide reassurance and if required medication. Current studies show how sunlight had an impact on mood, the immune system, regulation of sleep and development of vitamin D.

There can be an an increased appetite for carbohydrates providing energy and comfort from a sense of fullness. Carrying  out regular exercise helps improve mood and burns those extra calories. Walking outside is ideal.

Coping with low Mood

On those cold grey days then many people can be inclined to stay indoors further reducing the variety of outdoor activities and the limited amount of sunlight they are exposed to.  For some the use of phototherapy has proven effective to treat SAD with the use of light boxes helping to alleviate systems.

With low mood and lethargy it can take a huge amount of effort to function as normal. So where possible plan ahead during the summer and build a support network of friends and family.

Prompt them to remember to encourage you when feeling low, to involve you in activities, getting out of the house on good day and generally keeping occupied and involved on a regular basis.

Keeping a journal can be useful so when feeling low you can look back at encouraging entries during better seasonal times.

Anything that adds a splash of colour wearing brighter clothing, furnishings, flowers, an open fire etc.  contributes to lifting the spirits even if just for a short time.


Transactional Analysis Counselling can help with identifying and recognising patterns of Thoughts, Behaviour and Feelings.

This approach provides insight into these cycles and through comparing how you feel, act and think when times are OK will help you develop a strategy to challenge the symptoms.

Early recognition of the onset of mood change and the cycle of SAD may enable you to pass through that cycle more quickly with less intensity.

Further information about support for Seasonal Affective Disorder can be found at

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