Winter Weather Can Be So Depressing

October 27, 2013 Liana M. Scott

Winter can be so depressing, can't it? I live in the great Canadian north. Well, not too far north. In fact, I live near Toronto, which is just one hour north of Buffalo. Still, in the winter, the nights get pretty darn long and the often times below zero days, are gray and snowy and downright depressing.Winter can be depressing for the, quote... normal... person. For me, given my everyday battle to keep chronic depression at bay, winter can be like a ticking time-bomb waiting to blow my otherwise fragile stability all to hell.

In the past, I've written about how practicing positivity, getting involved in a charity (or volunteering) and avoiding your depression triggers can help assuage depression. But sometimes, in the dead of winter, I need a few more little helpers.

Three techniques to help combat winter depression

There are three key techniques I adopt during the wintertime.

  1. I take vitamin D supplements.
  2. I use a SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) lamp for 30 minutes in the morning.
  3. I open the curtains/blinds at home and at work.

[caption id="attachment_1430" align="alignleft" width="213" caption="By Keerati, courtesy of"][/caption]

While not definitively or scientifically proven, vitamin D deficiency has been linked to depression. Vitamin D is sometimes called the sunshine vitamin as we get it from exposure to the sun. When the days get short in the winter, two tiny vitamin D pills (2,000 IU) are an essential defence against my depression.

SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder, can affect anybody. For me, a person with chronic depression, the SAD season (October to April) is like seeing a tornado in the distance, coming straight for me but I can't get away. So, I went to see my doctor and got a prescription for a SAD light therapy lamp (a.k.a. phototherapy). I bought mine online for just under $200, which (thankfully) my employment benefits paid for in part. Every morning during the dark season, I wake up, turn on my lamp and get ready for work. It shines on my face and into my eyes and gives me hope.

Lastly, I make sure that I open the curtains and blinds around the house and at work. It seems almost counter-productive given the gray skies and the rain which will very soon turn into snow. Still, any and all exposure to natural light is key to combating depression during the winter months.

Winter can be so depressing. Depression can be so exhausting. These three simple and (relatively) inexpensive techniques help me through a very long, dark season. My hope is that they might help you too.

APA Reference
Scott, L. (2013, October 27). Winter Weather Can Be So Depressing, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, May 19 from

Author: Liana M. Scott

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November, 2 2013 at 3:49 pm

Thanks for another great article Linda. I use a SAD light as well, but found one that emits a thin, rectangular light and it attaches to your car visor or mounts on the top of your laptop computer screen. I use it all the time and find it very effective during the MN winter months. I would not recommend using the light in your car at night but is not an issue during the day time. It also does not interfere with seeing and working on your computer screen. The product can be found at Hope you find this helpful! Thanks again.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Liana Scott
November, 3 2013 at 8:28 am

Thanks for the comments, Chris... and the light info.

October, 31 2013 at 10:11 am

I live in an area with a very temperate climate, and the dark, cold and rainy days (mind you, this is relative) here gets to me. The fact you are way further up north than I, and manage to cope with the winters there amazes me! I imagine it must be tough. I purposely live in the sunny side of the street for this reason.
Anyway, be well.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Liana Scott
October, 31 2013 at 2:54 pm

Thanks Judy. It's not easy for any of us. You be well too.

marilyn kruse
October, 31 2013 at 7:25 am

I'm interested in your lamp, but some people have told me that bi-polar folks sometimes cannot use them, as they excacerbate their mania. I'm going to ask my doctor, as I'm hypo-manic, and it may depend on the degree of the illness one has. Thank you!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Liana Scott
October, 31 2013 at 2:55 pm

Hi Marilyn. I'd be curious about what your doctor says.

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