S.A.D. written on a dark skyline with trees
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Seasonal Affective Disorder

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How many people have been noticing that it is becoming increasingly difficult to get moving in the morning, and nothing seems to give you the happy mood you are normally known for? It’s possible you are suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

Across the nation we are being hit with all kinds of subzero weather and snow. Gone are the days of fun in the sun, flip-flops, and shorts. Your days now consist of waking up (in the dark), going to work, coming home (in the dark), eating dinner, watching TV/reading a book, and going to bed. If you are lucky and are not snowed in you might make a trip to the gym.

What is SAD?

According to the CMDT Seasonal Affective Disorder is described as excessive sleeping, overeating, lethargy, and rejection sensitivity. You may also notice an increased appetite and crave carbohydrates. It is a dysfunction of the circadian rhythms and occurs more commonly in winter months.

SAD is no joke! In the past many people just write it off as the “winter blues” or “cabin fever.” However, it is actually a subcategory of major depression!

What else is possible? What would it take to live through the winter months with ease and grace? What would it take to CHOOSE to be different?

If you suspect you have SAD please see a professional to help you find the best options for you.

What can help with SAD?


Acupuncture can help with a number of SAD-related symptoms. Acupuncture looks at the body as a whole. It moves blood and energy to help boost your mood!

Herbal Supplements

Let’s face it sometimes you need to be able to continue the treatment at home. Herbal supplements can treat the body on a deeper level and help you to get better faster! They are meant to treat the root of the problem. Which means that you may find some of those other pesky symptoms disappear. Only take herbal supplements recommended to you by a trained herbalist. Please do not self medicate! Contrary to popular belief the guy at whole foods is more than likely not a trained licensed herbalist.

Access Consciousness

“All of life comes to me with ease, joy, and glory”. Bars can help to release limiting beliefs from past and present. How many of your limiting beliefs are not even yours? What if your SAD is actually a learned limiting belief that you picked up from your parents, grandparents, and friends? Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to release what isn’t yours, and move on with your life? The best thing is that all you have to do is lay there while the practitioner gently activates (touches) a series of 32 points on the head. At worst you wake up feeling like you just had a great massage, and at best it can be life changing.


Helps to increase blood circulation and breaks up lactic acid that can accumulate in the muscles. With depression it is common to have “body aches”. Also, a massage is a great way to decrease stress.


An hour of Reiki can leave you feeling as refreshed as four hours of sleep! It has been shown through clinical studies to be able to decrease your cortisol (stress hormone) levels. It is also currently being used in combination with acupuncture, massage, meditation, and other methods by the Department of Defense to treat post traumatic stress disorder.


Sometimes we just need to talk things out. Counseling, such as interpersonal therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy may help with your treatment for SAD. You may choose individual counseling, participate in group counseling, or seek family therapy. You will learn about SAD, ways to handle the symptoms, and how to help prevent future depressive episodes. If you have had SAD for a long time, your family members may also benefit from counseling.


Antidepressants may be an option for you. Please speak with your health care provider for more information.

Clean your space

Ever hear of Feng Shui? Basically, it is the art of balancing the energy in a space. Does this mean you have to Feng Shui your space? Only if that is what makes you happy. The bigger point here is that clutter and dirt can make you depressed. You can start to feel closed in. So clean your space, and if you know how to smudge, do that too! Smudging is burning sage to energetically cleanse your space.

Exercise and Diet

You got to move it! The best way to move blood and energy is to get up and move. If you live in the city and can’t afford a gym membership then bundle up, like the kid from a Christmas Story, and go for a walk. Here’s a hint: the faster you walk the warmer you will get. WARNING: Do this only if it is safe to do so. Watch out for ice and subzero temps. Diet is also an important factor. When it gets cold our diets should switch to cooked foods. Do your best to avoid the processed junk foods. If you eat junk you feel like junk.

Yoga & Meditation

Sometimes you just need to ground yourself. Yoga will help with flexibility, stress, anxiety, and depression. Meditation will help to ground you.

Full Spectrum Light Therapy

There are two types of light therapy: bright light treatment, in which you sit in front of a “light box” for a certain amount of time (usually in the morning), and dawn simulation, which is done while you sleep. You can buy them online. There is even an alarm clock that mimics the sunrise. How cool is that?


Ideally you escape to someplace warm with sun. If for whatever reason you are not able to afford the time/money to go someplace warm go for a weekend trip. Find yourself a nice bed and breakfast or spa someplace other than your hometown. Sometimes all you need is to get out your rut.

Want to empower yourself?

We offer certification classes in Reiki. These are easy to learn techniques, and any one can learn them!

About the author

Teri Calandra

Teri Calandra Dipl.Acu, MSTOM, L.Ac., LMT, RMT

Teri began her studies in energy medicine as part of her own personal development journey, and continues to to learn and integrate that knowledge into her practice. Teri is the founding practitioner of Calandra Center for Health & Wellness in Schaumburg, Illinois. She is licensed by the State of Illinois in acupuncture (L.Ac.), and board certified through the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM).

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