People write articles about Seasonal Affective Disorder a lot during the winter. I’m a journalist, so I know how easy it is to ‘fill a quota’ by writing about something that people are searching for advice on.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is often referred to as “winter depression”. Some people may feel they are still able to go about their day-to-day whereas others will be completely wiped out by it.

I wanted to write an article, based on experience, with five tips on how you can minimise the impact it has on you by planning early.

READ MORE: How do you know if you’re suffering from burnout?

1. Buy a SAD light

There’s a lot to be said for light therapy. Last year I used a dawn simulator that woke me up with a ‘fake sunrise’ even when it was pitch black outside. The one I use is discontinued now, but this one looks good.

This year, I’m going to try a wellness table lamp. This is an investment, but I’ve been recommended this time and time again by other sufferers and also from therapists who always suggest it to their clients.

In Autumn, the price of these items are likely to increase, so to get the best deals, try buying one as soon as possible.

2. Introduce aromatherapy into your routine

There are a few great essential oils to relieve this feeling. They won’t get rid of it entirely (perhaps they will for you, but they don’t for me) but they will definitely ease these feelings.

Basil is amazing for fatigue and uplifting your spirits. It’s great for mornings if you can’t seem to get going. Lemon boosts serotonin levels, which will help regulate your mood. It’s one of the many reason lemon and hot water is such a popular choice on a miserable day. Our bodies are drawn to it.

Bergamot is my go-to for anxiety and feelings of tension. A lot of my favourite candles contain bergamot. Rose essential oil is also great for anxiety.

READ MORE: Slow living ways to beat the winter blues

3. Plan exercise

I get tripped up by this every year. I’m quite active in the summer, but this largely involves running and cycling. Come winter, I definitely do not want to do those things.

Planning in advance really helps you to get ahead of any changing weather. Exercise makes all the difference. Trust me, I wish it didn’t (sometimes it’s the last thing I feel like doing) but without fail, it does work.

My favourite indoor classes include; yoga, pilates, spin and bounce.

4. Plan outdoor activities

When you’re busy, it’s so easy to watch the weeks fall away from you. Each weekend is jam-packed and we scarcely make time to go for a long walk and just be outside without agenda.

James and I have a list of places we want to go to around where we live (within a one-hour radius). Whenever we have a free day in our joint calendar, we write one of the places into the calendar and that date is sarcred. 

READ MORE: Essential oils for cold weather

5. Keep a mood journal

I know this sounds a bit meh, but hear me out. A mood journal really helps you to pick up behaviour patterns month-on-month. It helps me to know when I’ll likely feel at my best and understand whether my low mood is hormonal or seasonal.

I prefer to keep this journal on the notes on my phone so it’s always within easy reach.

Caroline x