“I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord.”

Psalm 40: 1-3— NLT 

Earlier last week as my dog and I were driving home from having coffee with a friend, I suddenly became tearful, you know the kind that you can feel from deep in your chest. I felt so sad. But why? Nothing was different about our drive, and we have coffee with my friend several times a week. I brushed the feeling off. 

Then later that same evening as I was comfy in my recliner watching TV, sadness and tears welled up from deep inside again. Now what, I thought. But this time as I looked at the calendar I thought, oh boy, time-change is coming, that’s what’s wrong with me.  

It happens every year from fall time-change until spring time-change. Out of nowhere poof, random tearfulness, sometimes crying and I’m so sad when there’s nothing at all to feel sad about— and I know that. I nap more than usual and I’m not a fan of going out of my house either, it’s as if I just want to hide. And I try.  

Don’t get me wrong, I still go to my friends for coffee and visit with my best friend too— even though I want to be alone. I do not feel hopeless or helpless. I know I’ll be just fine once spring time-change comes. 

As the seasons change and winter draws near, many people experience a shift in their mood and energy levels. This phenomenon, known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), can cast a shadow over our lives, affecting our mental and emotional well-being.  

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder? 

Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of depression that occurs during specific seasons of the year. It typically begins in late fall or early winter when daylight hours decrease and lasts until spring when sunlight becomes more abundant. SAD can leave individuals feeling lethargic, moody, depressed, and emotionally drained. For some it can be severe, others— like me, mild or slightly moderate. 

Around 5% of the population experiences it in any given year, or around 10 million Americans.  And It’s four times more common in women than in men. 

Self-Care Tips to Get Through 

1. Embrace Natural Light: Make an effort to spend time outdoors during daylight hours or sit near windows to soak in natural light. I take my dog out to potty many times during the day, so I am still getting some natural light. 

2. Stay Active: Engage in regular exercise if you can as it releases endorphins that boost mood. This can be something as simple as walking to your mailbox. 

3. Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle: Prioritize meals, get enough sleep, if you take medications— take them, vitamin D can help too. 

4. Connecting with others: Spending time with friends and loved ones can help to reduce feelings of isolation and improve your mood. Even if you just want to hide out and be alone. 

5. Practice Mindfulness Techniques: Explore relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises or meditation to reduce stress levels. I’ve been using Psalm 23 for comfort and visualizing those soothing words as I go along. See how to meditate and break down Scripture HERE

Looking to Jesus for Guidance 

In times of darkness caused by SAD, turning towards Jesus can provide solace and strength. We have the assurance that God is always present with us even in our darkest moments. By seeking His guidance through prayer and studying His Word, we can find comfort knowing that He understands our struggles intimately. 

Journaling Questions for Reflection 

  1. How has SAD affected your spiritual journey? 
  1. In what ways can you lean on Jesus during this season? 
  1. What scriptures or verses bring you hope and encouragement? 
  1. How can you incorporate prayer and meditation into your daily routine to combat SAD? 
  1. What are some of the things that trigger my SAD symptoms? 
  1. What are some of the things that help to improve my mood? 
  1. What are some ways I can connect with God and other believers during this time? 
  1. What are some ways I can serve others? 
  1. I invite you to reflect on the opening verse of this message. Visualize and find comfort in its reflection. 

All In All 

SAD is a real and treatable condition. It may cast a temporary shadow, but it doesn’t define our lives. 

You are not alone— maybe you’re thinking you too? I thought it was just me. There are many people who understand what you are going through. With God’s help, you can get through this. 

God loves us and He wants to help us through this. Spend time in prayer and reading the Scripture, Journaling can also be a helpful way to process your emotions and cope with SAD. 

By implementing self-care strategies, leaning on Jesus, and seeking support from those around us, we can find light in the darkness. Remember that God’s love is unwavering, and He walks with us through every season of life. 

let us embrace the challenges of SAD with resilience and faith, knowing that even in the midst of winter’s gloominess, God’s light shines brightly within us. 

NOTE: If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of SAD that you can’t control through self-care and mindfulness, feel helpless or hopeless, or like you want to hurt yourself please reach out to your doctor, a mental health professional or your Pastor for help. There are a number of things you can do to manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life. 


Seasonal Affective Disorder: Johns Hopkins Medical 

Seasonal Affictive Disorder: Mayo Clinic 

Seasonal Affictive Disorder: American Psychiatric Association 

Linking Up This Month With These AMAZING Blog Hop/Link-Up Party Hostesses! 

 Senior Salon Pit Stop  Inspire Me Monday @ Anita’s   Inspire Me Monday  @ Create With Joy   Friendship Friday       Remember Me Monday  #TellHisStory   InstaEncouragements   Let’s Have Coffee  #AnythingGoesLinky    Imparting Grace   Grace & Truth   You’re The Star    Encouraging Hearts & Home   Hearth & Soul   Sweet Tea & Friends   Grammy’s Grid   #PoCoLo   Happiness Is Homemade    Tell It To Me Tuesday   Sunday Sunshine Blog Hop  Crazy Little Love Birds  Will Blog For Comments    The Happy Now Blog Link-Up    Dare To Share Saturday’s  Ge.ner.ic @ G’Ma’s Photos

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  1. This is helpful Paula. I wouldn’t say I have a full-blown case of SAD, but I do get a litle down in January for a few weeks. The excitement of Christmas is over, it’s dark, and it will be months before anything starts blooming again.

    One thing that helps mentally is knowing that, after the winter solstice in late December, the amount of daylight starts increasing. It’s a while before more daylight is noticeable. But knowing that there’s more, even though I can’t tell yet, is a big help.

    I also try to have some special projects for that time. Keeping busy with things I like and want to do gives me something to look forward to.

    1. I start looking at the slow increasing daylight after winter solstice too.

  2. I had SAD terribly when we lived in Western NY for 5 years. I felt like I was being smothered, like I could hardly breathe, like I wasn’t even myself (which I wasn’t). It’s very dark there in the winter, and isn’t even that sunny the rest of the year. Vitamin D is a huge must, I think, for anyone with SAD. My daughter’s levels were so low that she got hit with pretty severe depression at only age 11. Staying connected spiritually is so important. During those years, the problem didn’t obviously just disappear, but having God to sit with me in my sadness was very comforting. Thank you for sharing this encouraging post at the Will Blog for Comments #14 linkup. Hope to see you next week as well.

    1. Jen I’m in Western Pennsylvania. And I’m so not myself. I praise Jesus through it all.

  3. Thank you so much for visiting my blog so that I was able to discover your uplifting site. Wow! I lead a discussion group on Wed night and this is exactly the resource I needed.

    1. You’re so welcome Joy! And Thank you, I pray we visit each other’s virtual homes often 🤗

  4. I also suffer from SAD. Back in the 1970’s I moved from Tennessee to Florida. I just love the sunlight in Florida. At that time SAD hadn’t even been defined. I read about it in the 1980’s after the ground-breaking book on it was published. Living in Florida helps as there is sunlight 98 % of the time. When I lived up north, I bought full spectrum light bulbs to use for light therapy. It helps but as you said, I wanted to stay home and had much less energy.

    1. Carol thanks so much for sharing this with me. I’m in Western Pennsylvania and I’m certain Florida Sunshine would do me well too. 🤗

  5. It seems like I am lucky in a small way. We had Fall back this week and as we are now getting to winter time it will be dark early afternoon (around 3:30 to 4 pm) in mid-winter, and those going to work will leave in the dark and return in the dark. As I am retired this does not affect me as much anymore, so that’s why I say I am lucky in a small way.
    Thank you for sharing your links with us at #286 SSPS Linky. See you again next week.

    1. I’m in Western Pennsylvania (US) we had Fall back too it’s dark now at 5:00 but soon it’ll be about 4:30ish. I’m retired too. It’s such a pleasure to visit at your place.

  6. Oh Paula, this is such an important post, must-reading for all of us who either know someone or experience SAD ourselves. Giving a name to something and letting people know they’re in good company is such a gift to those who find themselves in this dark place.

    So, let’s get outside! Step away from our screens. Give to others who are in worse shape than we are. Drink lots of water and eat well. Focus on giving praise. And yes, not be at all reluctant to call our doctor to discuss where we find ourselves.

    Bless you for this wise and comprehensive post.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words Linda. I so appreciate you 🤗

  7. Paula, you have shared with transparency what you experience each year. But more so, you have graciously shared ways to cope with these feelings and even overcome them. Bless you for providing an informative post which is sure to help many.

    1. Thank you so much for your encouraging words dear friend 🤗

  8. Thank you, Paula, my husband and I both struggle with this on different levels. Your advice and vulnerability is so helpful. Most importantly may we remember we are not alone!

    1. You’re welcome Donna. You and I both live in PA opposite ends but we’re affected just the same. We are not alone for sure.

  9. Thank you for sharing your journey with SAD, Paula, and the solutions you have found that help you overcome its effects on your life. I appreciate your intentionality in pressing into relationships.

    The only thing that comes to mind is to turn on lots of lamps which could brighten the room you are entering and create an ambiance of homey warmth, especially in the evening after daylight hours have come to an end. I bought a plug with the accompanying controller, so when I walk into the Living Room, I can turn on three lamps within seconds. And the one in the bedroom allows me to turn on four lamps, so I can control the amount of light in the room. It’s great! Also, I have different-sized lamps, the regular size, and a few smaller ones – the smaller ones give additional light in the corners of the room.

    1. A controller sounds great. Yes, I love using lamps because they sure do make me feel cozy.

  10. Paula, thank you. A very good topic to write about. It was/is familiar in our family. Several people in my family struggle with it. My mother always started to feel down as soon as the leaves fell. I see it in my sisters and brother.

    I experienced it myself, at first (after the clock is set back). But thanks to the daylight lamp, it’s getting better. Thank you for the tips.


    1. You’re so welcome Aritha. I appreciate you sharing about your family with me 🤗

  11. Thank you for sharing your story and such wonderful advice. I’m sure many could benefit from this.

  12. It’s good to notice these changes in ourselves and our environment, but it’s so much better to know how to care for ourselves – and to actually do it! Take care, and thanks for sharing with #PoCoLo

  13. Strange I should be reading this today as earlier on I was overcome and just felt like crying for no particular reason. I met my husband afterwork for coffee and when we came out the coffee shop it was just so dark and depressing and it wasn’t even 4.30pm. Sorry for the delay with commenting and thank you for linking up with #pocolo

    1. I’m happy you read this when you did. I’ve been going through this since my 30’s and it’s something how our bodies react to the seasons and variations in weather too. I get so mixed up when it gets dark so early in the winter months.

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