The Kicks Wake Up Krew

Weekday Mornings 5:30 - 10:00

You can call it the winter blues… or maybe it’s more than that.  If you deal with less energy and a lower mood during certain times of the year, it could be Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).  According to the Mayo Clinic, it is an actual form of depression that happens with the changes in daylight and the weather. Around 4 to 6 percent of people have SAD, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. As many as 20 percent may have a mild form of it. And I’ll admit, I’m not immune to it.  So what are some ways to beat the winter blues?

Honestly, I have been diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder.  But I do think my issues are made even worse during the long, cold winter days.  There’s nothing worse than going to work in the dark, and coming home in the dark.  Although, now, as part of the Kicks Wake Up Krew, I do at least get to come home in the daylight. And I’m grateful for that!

But the weather plays a big role in it for me too.  I HATE the cold.  And it’s so hard for me to get motivated to do anything.  I’d much rather stay at home, in bed or on the couch, snuggled up with my pups.  When it comes to my running, it’s even harder for me to get outside and train.  I default to the treadmill a lot during the winter, even though I need to prep my body for my upcoming half marathon.

The Mayo Clinic lists some of the symptoms of SAD:

  • Feeling listless, sad, or down – most of the day, almost every day.
  • Losing interest in things you once enjoyed.
  • Low energy/feeling sluggish.
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling hopeless

The truth is, SAD can affect you in Fall/Winter, but it can also affect you in Spring and Summer.

One of the first things you want to do if you believe you’re struggling with SAD is to talk to your doctor.  Depending on the severity, the doctor may recommend medication or some type of therapy.  But there are a few things you can do if you’re dealing with just a bit of SAD.

Beat The Winter Blues

Here are a few tips to help when your energy is low and you’re feeling a little down, according to Everyday Health.

  • A Light Box

    Bright light therapy can help keep your circadian rhythm on track.  It’s exposure to artificial light.  This can be achieved with a light therapy box!

    I actually have one of these… and have to admit I haven’t used it much.  My fiancé original got it for me for an office I was working in that didn’t have any windows. But since I get up WAY before the sun does these days… it might be beneficial to use it first thing in the morning. Experts actually recommend using it within the first hour after waking up!

    Ideally, you use the light box for 20-30 minutes a day.  You don’t look directly at it, since it’s much brighter than regular lights! But, this can apparently cause a chemical change in your brain and help boost your mood.

  • Dawn Simulators

    I have one of these alarm clocks.  Instead of waking you up with a loud, blaring alarm, it mimics the sun rising.  The light gradually increases for about 10 minutes prior to your wake up time.  My alarm sound is birds chirping.  Much less jarring than that annoying beeping!

    There are different types and brands of these dawn simulators, but the best use full-spectrum light (the closest to natural sunlight).

  • Prioritize Social Activities

    Winter can sometimes lead us to “hibernate” and not be as social.  But social interaction is important to beating the winter blues! Find ways to connect with friends and family — whether in person or via video calls.  And of course, when the weather is nice… take that social interaction outside!

    This is an area I feel like I’m doing better in than I used to.  But some of that has to do with the lovely weather here in the South.  Since it’s been a lot warmer for most of the Fall/Winter, I’ve definitely found myself getting out a little more than usual.  Plus, now that we have our new Harley… any nice day we have, we’re going to look for somewhere to ride!

    Cody and David

  • Use Aromatherapy

    Essential oil may help with certain issues surrounding SAD, like anxiety and sleep issues.  Of course, there’s not a lot of research or evidence to prove the true effectiveness of essential oils… but I feel like if you enjoy the scents and it boosts your mood, it doesn’t hurt to enjoy them!

    We all know our sense of smell can bring about certain feelings– like remembering smells from your childhood!  It can take you back!  So it only makes sense that our brains are affected by various smells.

    I love essential oils, and have used them some throughout the years for various things.  Lavender and Cedarwood are two that have been helpful for sleep.


  • Stick To A Schedule

    I feel like this is good for everyone!  Going to bed and waking up around the same time every day can be very beneficial in keeping a good schedule.  But not only when it comes to sleep habits!  It’s good to eat at regular intervals too.


  • Get Moving

    Exercise is good for everyone!  It’s important to keep our bodies moving.  Increasing the blood flow is good for endorphins to help our moods.  Regular exercise may even help with getting better sleep too.  Plus, it can combat weight gain that can sometimes accompany feelings of depression.

    I can honestly say, exercise is like therapy for me!  Good day or bad day, exercising is a great way to relieve stress and just make me feel accomplished.

    At Home Ab Workout

  • Let In The Sunshine!

    Much like the light therapy box… getting sunshine can be great if you’re struggling!  And on top of that, it’s a great source of Vitamin D!

    Sunshine In

  • Journaling

    I’ve really gotten into journaling over the past year or so.  It’s just a great way to get your thoughts out on paper.  It can help sort out complicated issues, and help you track your moods!  Write it all out– the good and the bad.  Sometimes just getting it out of your head and onto the paper has really great therapeutic effects!


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