Reflections on my life....havenplace.co.uk

Managing the Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder without Supplements

Using supplements (for example St Johns Wort) is one way of alleviating the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (“SAD”). It is not the whole story and some people are unhappy about taking supplements. St Johns Wort in particular can be dangerous to take in conjunction with some prescription medications.

There are numerous ways to avoid supplements in addressing the symptoms of SAD:

Helpful Foods
Eggs, Turkey, Ham, Milk, Cheese,  Carbohydrates, brown rice, cottage cheese, peanuts, pumpkin and sesame seeds, fish and algae, wheatgerm and wheat bran, green vegetables.

These are all part of a normal balanced diet anyway, but you may consider how balanced your diet actually is.


Light Therapy is one part of the solution. Getting extra sunlight on those sunny winter days is not always easy so a light box can help with that. If you work at home, position your chair so that it faces the window (a south facing window if possible if you are in the Northern Hemisphere.

Winter Sunshine
If you can, try to get away for a winter sun break. This can be of major benefit, particularly as it gives you something to look forward to. Do try to avoid too much east-west travel though, as jet lag is closely linked to SAD in terms of cause.

Besides its obvious benefits, exercise releases endorphins in the brain, a feel good chemical. Cycling, walking and running get you out of doors and into the daylight. Maybe some light stretching exercises in the morning before breakfast.

Music and Dancing
Have a list of music which cheers you up and play your list regularly. It’s easy with Spotify to build a happy playlist. If it makes you want to dance, so much the better – that’s exercise too. I love Brazilian music and play my list regularly. The exercise will release endorphins in the brain - more feelgood!

It’s good to laugh, especially with others. Do you have any DVDs that make you laugh? Put them on, even if you are doing something else you can hear the soundtrack and laugh – it will release endorphins – more ‘feelgood’.

Minimise Alcohol Intake
Alcohol is a depressant, and it is a good idea to reduce your intake during the winter months.It will help improve you shape too.

Daily Life - Keep Yourself Occupied
If you have too much time on your hands, then thoughts can turn inward – not always a good thing if you spend a lot of time on your own.

These are a just a few of the ideas that I use in managing my own condition. It is not always easy to jump out of bed in the morning and start working out, I know. Try to plan five of these items into every day, and then feel good about yourself if you achieve three of them.

© 2010 Phil Marks. All rights reserved

I'm a long term sufferer of SAD. If you'd like to know more, then visit me at







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