Tips for dealing with depression brought on by seasonal affective disorder (sad)

Feeling SAD? Seasonal Affective Disorder & The Winter Blues

This post was originally written during my 2 1/2 year tenure as a blogger for Health Goes Strong. This site was deactivated on July 1, 2013, but you can view it here.


We’re two-thirds of the way through winter, and I’m SAD. Not in a way that means I’m unhappy to see winter coming to an end, but the Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) kind. I get the winter blues when I don’t get enough sunlight.

This condition is most common in places where there are big differences in the amount of daylight from one season to the next. Being an outdoorsy person, I notice those things. If you’re dealing with depression caused by too many clouds and not enough blue sky, you may have the winter blues, too.

Women are more likely to suffer from seasonal affective disorder than men, and it typically begins in the teenage years. If you have a close relative with SAD, your chances of having it are higher, but the older we become the lower the risk is of getting it for the first time.

Fortunately, Daylight Savings Time begins on March 10th this year, so the days will soon start getting longer.

If you’re in a funk for no particular reason, I have some strategies to brighten your outlook. They don’t require hopping a plane to a tropical place, but by all means take the trip if you can! Instead, I’m going to show you how to beat the winter blues with a trip into your own kitchen.

Change the Scenery

Hit the Winter White Sales to get a colorful new tablecloth, placemats, towel set, seat cushions, window valance, or area rug. Hint: I took down my old valance to replace it and never put the new one up when I realized how much more light streamed into the room without it. The point is to turn your kitchen into an oasis, a welcoming place to come home to each night.

Alternate Appliances

Dust off those little-used small appliances you have tucked away in closets and read the user manuals for inspiration. Your culinary repertoire and mental outlook can be revitalized just by switching from a slow cooker to a wok. I know I’m ready for a sizzling shrimp stir fry made with perfectly julienned vegetables using my mandolin slicer.

Unclutter the Cupboards

Buy some new shelf paper and use it to line the shelves and reorganize what you put back in. Give away odd mugs, unmatched glassware, and unused baskets that are taking up space. Sort and toss any plastic ware without its proper lid. Clean out the junk draw and be sure to identify what all those power cords belong to so you can label them before winding them up and putting them back in.

Bring on Spring

You don’t have to wait until the ground thaws to have edible plants in your home. Start a window sill herb pot for instant flavor in a pinch, sprout some beans for added crunch on sandwiches and salads, force some flowering bulbs with edible petals, such as tulips and daylilies, or make a centerpiece from pansies and violets and snip the flowers for edible garnishes.

Cook Out Often

Your kitchen can take on the tastes and smells of summer by just lighting the barbeque grill. Marinate some chicken, toss a potato salad, grill some vegetables and squeeze some lemons for fresh lemonade.

And when it snows, be sure to have extra burgers on hand to grill for the crew doing the shoveling.

Plan a Luau

Let everyone wear a Hawaiian print shirt and put on some music from The Beach Boys. There’s plenty of tropical fruit in the stores, so you can start with a halved and hollowed pineapple filled with pineapple chunks, kiwi and banana topped with toasted coconut. The rest of your menu can be as easy as some take-out seaweed salad and a sushi platter or easily prepared fish tacos and oven-baked sweet potato fries. And don’t forget to stop at the party goods store for the little cocktail umbrellas!

Kitchen makeover means a healthier diet in the New Year

Kitchen Makeover Means a Healthier Diet in New Year


There is no better time than the first day in the first week of a brand new year to make a fresh start on the road to healthy eating. And there’s no better place to take the first step on that journey than your kitchen. January 1st is a perfect time to clean out your cabinets, purge your pantry and rid your refrigerator of any foods that might sabotage your diet in 2012.

Let me lead the way to your kitchen makeover!

The first thing you must consider is whether you alone can take control the contents of your kitchen? If not, you will need to include the other decision makers in your household before undertaking this project.

Next you must have a clear vision of what types of foods your new eating plan includes. Does it allow pasta sauce in a jar or just canned tomatoes to make your own sauce? Can you eat tortilla chips if they are made from organically grown corn, yet still snack chips? Will you be able to use any of your collection of bottled salad dressings, or must they all go?

Once you have those guidelines in place, you’ll need a large trash bag for the food you’ll dispose of and a sturdy box for the food you can donate. And you’ll need a pad to begin writing your shopping list of the better-for-you replacement foods you’ll need to buy when you’re done.

Starting with the cabinets, cupboards and pantry, remove everything in a jar, bottle, can, box, bag, or pouch. Immediately discard anything opened that does not “belong” in your new food plan. Then put the unopened versions of any unwanted foods in the donation box.

Now make a list of the items you’ll need to fill in the gaps with the good stuff.

The final step is to wipe down the shelves before returning just those foods you want to see on your plate at future meals.

With that done you’re ready to tackle the refrigerator and freezer. Start with containers stored on the shelves in the doors of the refrigerator. Remove everything from those shelves, sort it, discard what you don’t want, clean the shelves and return the items you want to keep. Don’t forget to add the foods to your shopping list you want to replace. Next empty the drawers and do the same thing. Then you can clear out the open shelves and lastly, hit the freezer.

This is just one step towards better eating habits, but it’s a giant step. You can’t continue your habit of eating a bowl of ice cream in front of the TV every night if there’s no ice cream in the freezer. And you can’t establish your habit to eat more brown rice and whole grain pasta if they aren’t in the cupboard.

Wishing you a satisfying journey on the road to good nutrition!