Ways to Combat Seasonal Affective Disorder

The end of daylight savings time is when fall truly begins. Or for some of us in the northern states, what feels like winter. We welcome the change of seasons with an extra hour of sleep and that first Sunday of November is always a sweet one. Some might even look forward to it and the upcoming holidays so much they forget that with the changing of the seasons comes something much more dreadful: darkness. Like all the time.

Waking up early for school or work before the sun comes up and not getting home until after it’s set at increasingly earlier times is an incredibly deflating feeling. For some, the perpetual lack of light can even have terrible effects on their mental health. It’s called Seasonal Affective Disorder. And according to the NIMH, women and young people are at the most risk. Luckily, there are ways to combat it.

For all you socceristas, fall and winter are likely very busy times. From club tournaments and perhaps high school seasons. Then add in classes and the holidays. It’s important to focus on mental health and strength so that you can play your best soccer all year long. Luckily, for people who may be struggling with SAD, there are some proactive ways you can stay in good spirits throughout the cold months.


Artificial Sunlight

The Mayo Clinic and NIMH both suggest light therapy as a remedy for SAD. That’s because SAD is primarily caused by the lack of sunlight in the fall and winter. Artificially tricking your brain into thinking it’s getting sunshine is an easy way to combat the illness from the comfort of your home. Light therapy boxes are relatively inexpensive and easy enough to order on Amazon. They might be worth adding to your Christmas list this year.


Staying Active

Staying active is also a commonly recommended treatment for SAD. And for soccer players, this should be easy enough to accomplish. If you’re in the off-season or taking a winter break, gather some friends for a game of pick-up in a local park, or practice inside with some indoor drills and exercises.



Relaxation techniques are another way you can combat the stress that sometimes comes with SAD. Meditation has been proven to help athletes de-stress after workouts and maintain focus. And it can be even more helpful for those suffering from SAD.

In addition to meditation, yoga is also an effective way to combat the negative feelings SAD can bring on. A 2012 study even proved that high school students who did yoga in addition to regular P.E. classes faired better in terms of mental health than those who didn’t.

If you think you may have SAD, and have never spoken to anyone about it before, the first thing you should do is see your doctor. They can help you figure out the best course of action so the cold winter nights don’t threaten to throw you off your game. Until you’re able to see a professional, try some of the above treatments — they may just be the cure to your winter blues.


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