cozy therapy office

Seasonal Blues: Coping with Daylight Savings and Weather Changes

Feb 01, 2023

forest background

Seasonal Blues: Coping with Daylight Savings and Weather Changes

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that affects people in the fall or winter when there’s less daylight. This lack of daylight and the changes to and from daylight savings time disrupt your internal clock, leading to seasonal blues and feelings of depression.

Seasonal changes also affect your body’s serotonin and melatonin, influencing mood and sleep patterns. Combining these factors may lead to SAD. 

At the Modalities Group, we specialize in mental health therapy for people of all ages. You can find treatment for SAD at our office in Bowie, Maryland, near the Washington, DC, metropolitan area.

If you’re struggling with depression, you aren’t alone. In 2020, around 21 million Americans had at least one major depressive episode. Fortunately, depression is treatable, and we can help.

What causes seasonal blues?

With cold weather and less daylight, you may be feeling:

  • Sad or scared
  • Moody or irritable
  • Tired of activities that you used to enjoy
  • Overwhelmed
  • Tired all the time

If so, you could be experiencing SAD. 

As with any other clinical depression, there is an imbalance in the neurotransmitters in the brain with SAD. The lack of light triggers this imbalance among serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine in seasonal depression. 

Your rhythm of life gets out of step during the dark season. Your body produces more of the sleep hormone melatonin, which makes you feel sleepier than usual.  

Beating the seasonal blues

The good news is that several methods successfully treat SAD. 

Light box therapy

Therapy with a light box can be very beneficial. Early fall light box treatment may help prevent SAD. Light boxes or light therapy lamps produce broad-spectrum UV light to simulate sunshine.  

Many light box therapy lamps are available, ranging in price from $10 to hundreds of dollars. When using a light box, turn it on in the morning and keep it 12-24 inches from your face.

Experts recommend a light box with 10,000 lux. Lux measures the light you get at a certain distance from a light source. It expresses the intensity of the light box.  


Your treatment plan may include medication. The Food and Drug Administration has approved the antidepressant drug bupropion to treat SAD. There's a chance that other antidepressants may work too. 

These drugs could benefit those with a history of SAD who know they’re susceptible to getting it. If you've already had SAD, beginning treatment in the early fall before the days become noticeably shorter may help you avoid or lessen symptoms.


Psychotherapy is an effective method to combat SAD. Cognitive behavioral therapy for SAD, or CBT-SAD, is the method that has had the most significant effect in both prevention and treatment.

Several self-care measures could lower your risk if you practice them all year. These include:

  • Getting regular exercise
  • Maintaining good sleep hygiene with a consistent sleep/wake cycle
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Minimizing your intake of sugary foods

Being outside on sunny days might help you with SAD symptoms. Natural sunshine exposure can hellp with symptom relief.

Banish the blues

We can help you prevent or treat SAD. While you can’t always avoid seasonal depression, some therapies can help you effectively manage your symptoms. 

If you’re experiencing the seasonal blues, seek professional help. Call us at The Modalities Group to schedule a visit, or use our online booking tool at your convenience.