Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that occurs particular seasons.  It is more common in winter, as we adjust to the change in seasons and feel lower in mood and energy.

Symptoms of SAD can include:

  • a persistent low mood
  • a loss of pleasure or interest in normal everyday activities
  • irritability
  • feelings of despair, guilt and worthlessness
  • feeling lethargic (lacking in energy) and sleepy during the day
  • sleeping for longer than normal and finding it hard to get up in the morning
  • craving carbohydrates and gaining weight

For some people, these symptoms can be severe and have a significant impact on their day-to-day activities.

Listen to Sarah’s story and read Vicky’s story

Sarah explains how she developed SAD and what it’s like living with it day to day and Vicky talks about the misconceptions surrounding SAD:

What can I do to help myself?

There are lots of simple things you can do which might help boost your mood:

  1. Get natural sunlight – Getting outside in the natural sunlight as much as possible can help boost your mood. Even a short daily walk can help. If you find it hard to get out, try and make your home as bright as possible by opening the curtains and sitting near the window.
  2. Stay active – Regular activity, especially outdoors on a bright day, can help with symptoms of low mood and depression.
  3. Connect with others – Winter can make us feel more isolated, but there are lots of ways to keep in touch. From email and text message to a good old-fashioned post, try to find ways to reach out to friends and family.

Age UK’s Call in Time service offers anyone over 60 the opportunity to receive a weekly phone call from a like-minded volunteer. It’s a great way to make a new friend and enjoy regular conversation.

If you’re feeling down, lacking in energy, or have lost pleasure in the things you used to enjoy, talking can help. Speak to your GP about how you are feeling.