UW Medicine on how to deal with winter SAD and gloomy weather

Jan 2, 2020, 12:57 PM

A study released in November 2019 declared Seattle the gloomiest city in the nation. That being so, there are ways to battle low winter mood that descends upon many here in the Pacific Northwest every year.

Study names Seattle the nation’s ‘gloomiest city’, Seattleites shrug

The November assigned something called a “gloom score” to each city. Seattle’s was a whopping 90.90.

“It’s hard because a lot of time you wake up in the morning, it’s dark, you come home in the afternoon, and it’s still dark,” said UW Medicine’s Dr. Megan Feng. “A lot of people come in with concerns about feeling a little down.”

Dr. Feng suggests a variety of different methods to battle what’s known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, or aptly, SAD, for short. Among those methods is purchasing some sort of a light therapy device.

Including brands like HappyLight, these devices mimic the presence of sunshine during the winter months, and can even help with the process of waking up on dark mornings.

Rainy weather and dark skies overtake Puget Sound for foreseeable future

“Normally what you want to do is turn it on early in the morning, usually within 10 minutes of waking up,” Feng described. “Then, you’ll kind of just put off to the side as you’re doing your daily activities, eating your breakfast, reading the paper. Just having it in your vicinity, letting your eyes absorb that light stimuli can be helpful.”

Other methods for treating SAD include exercising, eating healthy foods, and keeping up with social activities.

“More and more we’re recognizing that these are really significant and impactful to people’s quality of life,” said Meng.

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UW Medicine on how to deal with winter SAD and gloomy weather