Happy lamps and SAD go together like mac and cheese or peanut butter and jelly—they’re a tried-and-true duo. This HappyLight is designed to mimic sunlight, so you can feel a little sunshine on your face even on the darkest days. I turn mine on for the first hour of my workday and it helps me feel energized despite my extreme fatigue—no energy drinks required.
10 Products to Buy Now to Prepare for SAD SeasonC’mon, get happy…or at least a little less sad.
Without fail, as soon as the clocks fall back each year my lifelong friend known as seasonal depression returns. It’s almost like, well, clockwork. The days get shorter, the sun disappears alarmingly early, and I get sad, unmotivated, frustrated, and deeply tired.
You know those TikTok videos of dogs demanding their dinner an hour early after the time changes? Yeah, I feel their pain and confusion to my core. But instead of calling out for dinner, I find myself needing extra sleep, added light, and plenty of comfort when the days get shorter and the nights get longer.
Let’s just say if hibernation were an option for humans I would be the first to sign up. Alas, I can’t retreat to the woods every winter (as hard as that is for me to accept). Instead, I have to continue to adult as best as I can even when things like working and feeding myself feel difficult and disinteresting.
Sure, you may be thinking, Well yeah, everyone feels a little blah in the winter, but seasonal depression, also known as seasonal affective disorder—or SAD, the world’s most accurate acronym—is a very real thing that millions of people deal with each year. It’s not just the doldrums.
What is seasonal affective disorder?
Seasonal affective disorder is a type of depression that presents around the same time each year, most commonly in the fall and winter months (though some people do experience seasonal depression in the spring and summer), according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5-TR). If you find yourself dealing with a major depressive episode during the same season for at least two years in a row, it’s likely that you suffer from SAD. You’re not alone though—studies show that 1-10% of the population suffers from seasonal depression.
Symptoms of SAD are in line with what you’d see with non-seasonal depression, according to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), and include feeling sad, losing interest in activities that used to bring you joy, withdrawing from friends and family (hi, I’m sorry, I did see your text and will respond at some point!), loss of energy, and changes in eating and sleeping habits.
For me, getting out of bed each morning feels damn near impossible even if I’ve gotten plenty of sleep. I genuinely think I could sleep until 4 p.m. if I let myself. I also deal with a deep decline in motivation (case in point: I turned in this story almost a full week past the original deadline, which is embarrassing to say the least, but it’s the truth). Daily tasks just feel so, so difficult. Basically, if I could bed rot until March I absolutely would.
Unfortunately sleeping all day and avoiding my friends won’t pay the bills or soothe my soul, so I’ve had to find some alternatives to make fall and winter a little easier to get through. In addition to virtual therapy and medication, I have a few go-to products that make life a little easier during this tough season.
Yes, I just said I would sleep until 4 p.m. if I could, but that doesn’t mean falling asleep is easy for me. I sleep late but I don’t sleep easily, if that makes sense. Enter: my weighted blanket. There’s an indescribable calming effect that comes with the heaviness of these blankets. The second I settle in under mine I feel immediate relief and relaxation. It’s like a long hug from someone who makes you feel safe.
This little alarm clock serves a dual purpose for me. The white noise helps me fall and stay asleep—and drowns out my loud neighbors as a bonus—while the sunrise effect makes waking up a little easier. I struggle to get out of bed on a good day, but when those gray, gloomy winter mornings arrive it feels almost impossible. Having some fake sunlight surround me as I wake up makes leaving my depression nest a little easier.
When my depression is at its height, getting dressed can feel like an insurmountable task. Why would I put on hard pants or a bra when I could just stay in my pajamas or pop on the hoodie I stole from my prom date 15 years ago? But wearing a real outfit can help my motivation, so finding pieces that are at once comfortable and presentable has been my mission lately. Hoodies may seem too casual, but when you find one that looks this structured and comes in a punchy red shade, it can take any outfit (or day) up a notch.
It may seem counterintuitive to rely on a product that keeps you couch-locked to help with depression that makes you withdraw from everything, but that’s not always the case. For me, using this foot warmer is a self-care activity that makes my time on the couch feel intentional. I can settle in to catch up on my trash TV and do something kind for myself at the same time.
Adding a little greenery to your home is one of the best ways to introduce life into your space, but remembering to actually water your plants is easier said than done—especially if you’re having trouble keeping yourself fed and hydrated. Luckily, anyone can keep these plants alive. I’ve killed my fair share of plants, but my Easyplant babies are all alive and well. The pots come equipped with a self watering system that you only have to fill once a month, so you can reap the benefits of being a plant parent without the hassle.
On those days when cooking for myself feels impossible there’s nothing better than having a stash of ready-made meals in the fridge. Being able to pop a nutritious dinner in the microwave or oven with no prep needed is a god send. Factor’s meals come in single portions too, which is great for those of us who live alone.
Ugh, it pains me to admit this, but I do feel better when I exercise regularly. I know, I know, I’m as shocked as you are to find out that moving my body would be better for my mental and physical health than sitting on my sofa all day bingeing hours of Below Deck, but here we are. This mat has a little extra padding that makes it easier to use on my wood floors, a strap so I can carry it from room to room, and comes in handy for all my yoga, pilates, and stretching sessions.
Sometimes the best thing I can do for my mind is try to clear it. Calm’s meditations have become one of my favorite tools to help calm (for lack of a better word) my depressive thoughts and focus my brain on something stress-relieving, like my breath.
It turns out water is good for you, who would’ve thought?! But, truthfully, when I feel low it can be extremely difficult to remember to do the things my body needs most. Keeping a reusable water bottle filled with icy cold water in every room of my apartment has been one of my best hacks for staying hydrated. Sure, it may seem silly to have several bottles scattered around my home, but it’s so helpful.
Wondermind does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Any information published on this website or by this brand is not intended as a replacement for medical advice. Always consult a qualified health or mental health professional with any questions or concerns about your mental health.