Seasonal Affective Disorder and Recovery

During this time of year, many people rise when it’s dark to go to work and come home when it’s dark once again. There are much fewer chances and reasons to be outdoors during this time of year, especially in states that have snow and rain on a regular basis. Being outside during daylight hours on the weekend can do a body good, but sometimes it just isn’t enough. Even if someone is not living in addiction recovery, it can become very easy to sleep in or go to bed early and make the choice to avoid social affairs. During this time of year, neglecting your physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing is very easy to do without even realizing it.


Sometimes people will claim, “Oh, you’ve just got the winter blues,” but there is actual a clinical diagnosis for this. It is called Seasonal Affective Disorder. In short, SAD is classified as a seasonal depression that occurs when winter days become dark, short, and cold. Signs of SAD include feelings of exhaustion, irritation, sluggishness, apathy, and a lack of motivation. People who are working hard at managing an addiction, and even those who have been in recovery for quite some time, can be more at risk for this disorder than anyone else. If you or someone you love is experiencing these symptoms, there is a helpful list of activities to engage in to help battle your SAD.


  1. Head outside. Even if it’s cold or snowing, shovel the driveway. Take a quick walk around the block. Being outside increases your oxygen levels and your heart pumps more blood.
  2. Make a schedule and stick to your commitments. It’s easy to flake or blow off plans, but be sure to keep them. The stimulation received from conversation and being around others positively affects your brain.
  3. Exercise is very important. Breaking a sweat 3-5 times a week creates dopamine in the brain.
  4. Create a “thankful” list. By listing the things that you are thankful for and referring to it on a regular basis, you will become more focused on the things in life that you have to be grateful for, which will also elevate your mood.
  5. Make a commitment to your hobbies. If you enjoy reading or playing an instrument, set a timer and make sure you do it for at least 30 minutes a day. During the winter, it becomes far too easy to just plop down in front of the television from the time you get home from work until the time you fall asleep.


If you or a loved one are searching for a drug rehab center to complete an addiction recovery program or a clinically managed detox, contact Right Path Drug Rehab today. One of our intake coordinators will help you find the right program for your individual needs.


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