Here are 10 ideas to overcome seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and boost your mood now.

Have you noticed a change in your mental health during the winter months? Chances are your kids do too. Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD is common. Research* supports that time changes associated with Daylight Savings Time are also linked to negative impacts on mental health. While spring is just around the corner, here are some ways you can lift everyone’s spirits now. 

  • Hotel pool crash – Most hotels charge a small fee to utilize pool facilities if you are not a guest… totally worth it for a taste of summer during the winter months. What summer/party foods would you bring along?  
  • Concerts, Plays, The Arts – What is going on in your area for a change of pace? Check out local theaters and art classes.
  • Get outside – Sledding, walking, exploring…what natural wonders are around you? It has been said there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes. Bundle up and find places to enjoy the great outdoors. Then, come in for some warm cocoa!
  • Comedians – Laughter really can be the best medicine. There are plenty of family-friendly comedians out there. Jim Gaffigan, Brian Regan, Carlos Oscar, Anjelah Johnson and Michael Jr.  are just a few to help you orchestrate a weekly comedy night from the comfort of your own home.
  • Music – Is everyone fighting for a turn to pick the next song on Alexa? Make an uplifting playlist where the whole family gets to add their favorites! Play it during your morning routine or for the lull between school and dinner.
  • Movies – Family movie night brings everyone together and if it’s planned regularly, each member of the family can pick a movie and a snack for everyone to enjoy on their night to reduce grumbling.
  • Time with friends/family – It’s easy to stay cozy indoors but planning in advance helps to follow through with this one. 
  • Sun lamps – Create your own summer with visualization. If you go this route, how can you up the fun factor?  You could bring in the sounds of some ocean waves, add a soft blanket and yummy smelling lotion for a sensory treat!
  • Short weekend getaways – This one takes a bit more planning and possible financial commitment but gives the whole family something to look forward to. 

Don’t let seasonal affective disorder steal your joy. Check out how Happy Spots can help your family create your own joy and overcome challenges. If you have questions, we’d love to chat

*Zhang, Hanxin et al. “Measurable health effects associated with the daylight saving time shift.” PLoS computational biology vol. 16,6 e1007927. 8 Jun. 2020, doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1007927

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Stephanie Cantu holds a master’s degree in Education and is the Founder of Happy Spots by Empowered Minds, an active mindfulness and recovery program for youth. At Happy Spots, we are about creating our own joy and inspiration no matter what is happening in our environment, and helping kids do the same.

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