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  • Writer's pictureKatrina O'Duffy

How does Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) affect us at home and work?

As we move out of the summer we are shifting from a space of creative growth and celebration with colourful flowers and vegetables in full-bloom – it's generally a very vibrant time. And as we head into Autumn and Winter we see our environment start to draw in to protect itself from the weather ahead and you might notice that you also feel a tendency to retreat inside, deepen your thoughts, rest and reflect.

Some of us may flourish at this time and others may feel their mood change. 1 in 3 people at this time of year people can feel Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD. This is a type of depression that's related to changes in seasons. The condition typically begins in Autumn and continues into the Winter months. However, some forms can cause depression in Spring or early Summer.

Some symptoms you might feel are:

  • Oversleeping

  • Appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates which can boost the happiness part of our brain momentarily but ultimately will kick-start the sugar rollercoaster

  • Weight gain

  • Tiredness or low energy

  • Difficulty concentrating for long periods

  • Feeling unmotivated at work

There are several misconceptions when it comes to seasonal affective disorder. For example, that SAD only occurs during Autumn and Winter - some suffer more in the reverse situation or generally feel impacted all year round. The exact causes are not set in stone and can differ from person to person.

However, several possible causes include:

  1. Your circadian rhythm, or biological clock, may be disrupted by the decrease in sunlight leading to feelings of depression.

  2. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter or chemical messenger in the brain. Low levels affect mood and might play a role in SAD. Reduced sunlight can cause a drop in serotonin that may trigger depression.

  3. Melatonin is a sleep-related hormone secreted by the brain and plays a role in sleep patterns and mood. Low levels have been linked to seasonal depression as the change in season can disrupt the balance of the body's level of melatonin.

So how can you try to get back to yourself in this time and thrive through the colder months naturally? Check out our challenge and actionable guide...

Challenge: Easing into the Seasons

Join us on a 4-week challenge - Easing into the Seasons - and see how much you can improve your wellbeing as we move through the Winter season.

Actionable guide: Supporting your teams

If you're looking for ways to support your team through the seasonal change to improve productivity and reduce sickness, download our free actionable guide.

Hi there, we hope you found value in reading this blog!   


We are a small team of passionate people trying to enable others to benefit from our own wellness journeys, research and expertise in behavioural change. Our blog is where you'll find our growing hub of easy to digest insights and inspiration to support you in finding natural and holistic ways to be well. We also invite guest bloggers from a wide range of holistic health practitioners to contribute so that you can benefit from a collective of knowledge. If there's a particular area you'd like to hear more from us about, please do let us know! 


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