7 Expert-Approved Ways to Deal With Seasonal Depression

Summer is officially over, cooler temps are beginning to set in, and the days are growing ever shorter. If the onset of fall tends to make you feel a little blue, just know that according to Psychology Today, this funk isn't all in our heads: An estimated 10 million Americans are affected by seasonal affective disorder. To explore why this time of year feels extra tough—and what we can do about it—we connected with clinical therapist and grief specialist Ginger Poag.

Since we still have months before the weather is on the upswing again, it's best to get ahead of SAD—especially prior to the holiday season, which tends to exacerbate those mood swings even more. Scroll down for Poag's top tips on fighting seasonal depression.

1. Jot it down

2. Get outside

Even a short stroll through your neighborhood will reduce stress and release endorphins. When I want nothing more than to hide under the covers all day, I use this trick: As soon as you get out of bed, put on workout wear. That way, you've already taken the first step in getting outside, and the rest will seem far less daunting.

3. Shake up your scent

4. Turn on a light

5. Make space

Looking for another way to lighten up? Try making space in your home. "Clutter can have a negative effect on moods," notes Poag, who suggests streamlining your possessions to help relieve anxiety. Start somewhere small—your medicine cabinet, for example—to make your task feel manageable, and blast an upbeat playlist while you work.

6. Reach Out

While holing up until summer is tempting, Poag reminds us that isolating ourselves can compound negative emotions: "Call a friend and go out for lunch, coffee, or just catch up on the phone with them." She recommends social gatherings that won't overexert you, whether it's satisfying your restlessness by going out for the afternoon or curling up with a tried-and-true favorite film with your best friend.

Since many people are feeling low right now, this is a perfect time to remind loved ones that you're here for them. Enlisting a friend for a mood-boosting activity—like a scenic stroll, a tea date, or yoga—will help hold you both accountable.

7. Treat yourself (within reason)


This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be used in the place of advice of your physician or other medical professionals. You should always consult with your doctor or healthcare provider first with any health-related questions.