Steps For Managing Seasonal Affective Depression
While Mothering

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that's related to changes in the seasons. Dealing with SAD can add an extra layer of challenges to parenting for moms. Nicole Wallace, LCMHC shares tips for managing your symptoms.

By Nicole Wallace, LCMHC, M.Ed, LSC

What Is SAD?

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that’s related to changes in the 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 through the winter.


If you are a mom and experiencing SAD it can be a very difficult time of year.  Trying to keep your family on a schedule when you don’t feel like going anywhere can be a struggle.  Participating in cheerful holiday activities when you don’t feel very cheerful can be a challenge.


Some of the symptoms of SAD include:

  • Feeling listless, sad or down most of the day, nearly every day
  • Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Having low energy and feeling sluggish
  • Having problems with sleeping too much
  • Experiencing carbohydrate cravings, overeating and weight gain
  • Having difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling hopeless, worthless or guilty
  • Having thoughts of not wanting to live


Don’t brush off your feelings or minimize them if you are struggling with symptoms and/or if those symptoms are affecting your work performance or relationships.

Don’t brush off your feelings or minimize them if you are struggling with symptoms and/or if those symptoms are affecting your work performance or relationships.

Tips to Manage Symptoms

1. Keep your expectations realistic

Don’t let your hopes for perfection spoil your spirit. Ask yourself processing questions when feeling overwhelmed.  What can I accomplish today?  What am I feeling today?


2. Practice wellness

A daily routine of at least 7 hours of sleep, a 30-minute exercise routine and limiting your alcohol intake can go a long way in fighting the blues.


3. Stand in the sun

Taking a break for at least 15-30 minutes of sunlight, especially in the early morning, helps to regulate your internal clock.

4. Cultivate some winter hobbies

The chilly weather may freeze your weekend gardening plans but it may be the best time to catch up on your reading list or tackle a new project in the house. Adjust your leisure activities to fit the seasons.


5. Keep the structure in your family schedule

If the children are involved in sports or church activities, try to maintain those activities as much as possible.  Sometimes pushing through to go to regular scheduled events can help reduce SAD symptoms.


6. Prepare in advance

Cook meals you can plan in advance and may last multiple days, such as casseroles or crockpot meals. Do the laundry and set out clothing in sets of outfits for the week.  If you have a spouse or partner these are good activities to plan together.


Lastly, seek professional help if you feel that your symptoms are persistent.  Talk to your primary care provider or find a therapist in your community.

Nicole is a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor with over 20 years experience helping adults and children with overcoming trauma, managing life transitions, and developing coping skills. She is specialized in working with anxiety, depression, trauma, life transitions, and developing effective parenting skills with women and children with trauma concerns, anxiety and depression. Nicole provides a caring, non-judgmental mental health service for children (5-12), adolescents (13-18), and adults (18+) where she draws techniques from a variety of therapy models depending on the client’s needs. Nicole most often uses Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Client Centered treatment the most. She is founder of Transformation Counseling & Consulting, PLLC where she sees clients.

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