As the days grow shorter and the colder months descend, many people find themselves grappling with Seasonal Depression, also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD is a form of depression triggered by reduced exposure to sunlight, and it affects roughly 10 million Americans. The relentless gloom can take a toll on one's mood and energy levels, which impacts overall well-being.
Luckily, there are plenty of products designed to alleviate the symptoms of SAD and make the winter blues more manageable. I've personally found each product on this list helpful in alleviating my own seasonal gloom, and I hope you do, too.
Light therapy is the number one recommended method for offsetting the symptoms of Seasonal Depression. Studies have shown that sitting in front of a "sun lamp" for even 15 to 20 minutes a day makes a marked difference in a person's mood and overall health.
This one from Carex offers the recommended 10,000 LUX of white light while blocking 99.3% of UV rays. The large, glare-free screen projects light downward, mimicking the angle of the sun and is adjustable to suit your preferences. At 4000 Kelvins, this lamp shines right in the sweet spot of the prescribed light temperature range necessary to improve mood without harming your eyes.
This is also an excellent product to reduce the effects of jet lag or circadian rhythm disorders, making it a great pick for frequent travelers.
Vitamin D helps build and maintain healthy bones, it aids in cellular function, and it supports immune health, brain cell activity, and muscle function. It is essential to our overall health. Humans absorb a majority of their Vitamin D through the sun's rays, so no sun = Vitamin D deficiency. It's important to add a supplement during darker months.
Mary Ruth's Vitamin D supplement comes in a liquid form that you spray underneath your tongue. This method speeds absorption into the body so it can get to work faster. It's vegan, organic, and free from all common allergens!
Prefer to take your supplements in pill form? Try the Live Conscious Vitamin K2 + D3 blend, also known as "Sunshine in a Bottle." These softgels are easy to swallow, flavorless, and are so powerful that you only need to take one to meet the daily requirement. They're manufactured in the United States and thoroughly tested by an independent third party to ensure quality, potency, and transparency.
There is mounting evidence of what's being called the "gut-brain connection," meaning gut health might play a major role in mental health. Taking a daily probiotic is one step you can take toward getting your microbiome in tip-top shape.
Garden of Life's Dr. Formulated Mood+ probiotic capsules contain 50 billion (that's Billion with a "B!") CFUs and 16 raw probiotic strains that make the good bacteria in your tummy happy and healthy, plus a whole food prebiotic blend and stress-busting ashwagandha.
This Sunrise Alarm Clock is designed to get you up and at 'em even when the mornings are dark and you'd rather stay in bed. The sunrise simulation gradually increases from 10% to 100% brightness over 30, 20, or 10 minutes before the alarm time, providing a gentle and natural waking up experience.
It's fully customizable to suit your schedule with settings for weekdays and weekends along with a snooze function for an extra nine minutes of sleep when you need it. The clock features colorful lights with 20 adjustable brightness levels, an FM radio with auto-scanning and manual tuning capabilities, and seven alarm sounds to choose from.
Staying active is crucial for your overall wellness, your mental health included. But boredom with routine can be one of the biggest hurdles people face when trying to find the motivation to move their bodies.
Enter ClassPass. It's a monthly subscription app that gives users access to hundreds of group fitness classes without having to join just one gym. Try hot yoga on Monday, spin class on Wednesday, and boxing on Friday, then switch it up completely the next week! Plus, ClassPass is a full-service wellness app, so in addition to fitness classes, you can also schedule massages, manicures, and cryotherapy, depending on what's available in your area.
If group exercise isn't your thing, try creating a "home gym" experience! The BalanceFrom GoYoga seven-piece set is a comprehensive yoga kit. It comes with two mat options: 1/2 inch and 1/4 inch thick. Both mats feature double-sided non-slip surfaces (to prevent injuries) and moisture-resistant technology, meaning they're super easy to clean.
The set also includes two absorbent microfiber yoga towels, a knee pad for extra cushioning, two yoga blocks, and a handy carrying strap. This kit is ideal for beginners and experienced yogis alike.
The world's #1 meditation app, Calm is a digital sanctuary offering hundreds of guided meditations to help you find your zen. With a vast library of mindfulness exercises, sleep stories, and soundscapes, you're just a few taps away from less stress, improved focus, and a brighter outlook. Calm has over 100 million downloads and 1.5 million five-star reviews, and it has been touted as "the world's happiest app."
Another mindfulness practice to incorporate when SAD strikes is journaling. I dare you to look at this Papier wellness diary and not smile. The sunny "Beach Towel" design of the cover hints at the writing prompts and self-care ideas contained within.
With 96 pages for logging intentions and goals, noting moods and reflections, and checking in with your mind and body, this gorgeous journal can help you untangle any complicated feelings you may be having or just provide a space to sit in the "now."
Having plants around is a certified mood-booster, whether you're spending time in nature or cultivating an indoor garden of greenery. But what if it's the dead of winter, and you have a black thumb? Don't worry, the Sill's got you. This kokedama (which is Japanese for "moss ball") is a 100% natural, preserved fern that requires no watering and does best out of direct sunlight. Keep it on your desk or hang it wherever it can brighten your day!
Two fragrances that do wonders for the mood are calming lavender and bright, citrusy lemon. This aromatherapy candle from the Driftwood Home blends the earthy, herbaceous scents of fresh cut lavender and greens with uplifting lemon, sweet orange blossom, and vanilla for an olfactory experience akin to a spa day.
The soy wax and cotton wick burn clean for 45 - 90 hours (depending on the size), and it's all packaged in a beautiful jar with a cork lid that can be repurposed when the candle burns down. Light this while you do some breathwork or journaling, and see if you don't feel a little more "aaahhhh."
These wireless bluetooth headphones are perfect for blocking out the noise of the world while you go for a walking meditation, practice some affirmations at home, or when you just want to jam out to some tunes. Featuring digital Active Noise Cancelling technology (ANC) they provide 90% isolation from surrounding noise and deliver high-resolution audio with up to 50 hours of playtime.
With a low latency mode for improved sensitivity and connection stability during TV, video conference, and gaming sessions, these headphones connect fast and won't drop out. Plus, the folding compact support arms make them convenient for storage and travel.
For a more customizable aromatherapy experience that doesn't involve an open flame, I recommend this essential oil diffuser. With its 500 milliliter water tank, it's actually a combination diffuser and humidifier. Not only does it waft the soothing scents of your favorite essential oils, but it also adds some moisture to the air - much-needed in those dry cold months.
This device is made from BPA-free material and is whisper quiet, operating at a noise level below 23 decibels. Use the remote control to personalize mist mode settings, set a timer, or adjust the color of the LED night light!
Doctors agree that good nutrition is the foundation for a healthy brain, and cooking seasonally ensures that the food you eat is at its peak nutrient density. Cooking in Season features 100 recipes to guide you through a whole year of delicious dishes. From Summer Vegetable Ceviche to Salted Caramel-Dipped Pears for Winter, these recipes are flavorful, fresh, and comforting.
Personally, I find that nothing is quite as soul-soothing as a long, hot bath. Dr. Teal's Epsom Salts with lavender oil is my go-to soaking solution. With just two ingredients - magnesium sulfate and pure essential oil - it's a natural way to unwind your mind and help ease tight muscles. Plus, the five pound bags now feature a secure Velcro closure, so they're conveniently resealable!
Physical touch can also trigger happy brain chemicals and alleviate symptoms of Seasonal Depression. If you're not able to book a massage, at least treat yourself to an at-home spa treatment.
Using one of these brushes before or during a bath or shower not only sloughs off dead skin, it also promotes good circulation and stimulates the lymphatic system. The stiff, natural boar bristles exfoliate the skin while the polished wood handle fits comfortably in the palm. It even comes with a handy hook for hanging dry between uses!
After a vigorous exfoliation, it's important to replenish the skin's moisture with a rich body cream like this one from Alba Botanica. Its cruelty-free, plant-based, hypo-allergenic formula contains emollients like avocado oil, jojoba oil, and shea butter as well as botanicals like cucumber extract, lavender extract, and aloe vera to provide 24 hours of deep hydration.
Of course, sometimes the best course of action is to honor your body's needs. If all you want to do is take a nap, make sure it's the best nap of your life under this weighted blanket from Bearaby. Weighted blankets have been proven to stimulate the production of serotonin and melatonin and reduce cortisol.
This organic cotton napper features a nubby, open-weave design that provides ten pounds of calming weight without excess warmth. It's a soft, breathable blanket suitable for all seasons that will help you fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and wake up feeling fresh and rejuvenated.
If you are experiencing a mental health crisis, please talk to your doctor or call the National Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) hotline at 1-800-662-4375.