2205 Silvernail Road, Pewaukee, WI 53072 • (262) 544-9380

Shop Healthy • Shop Local • Shop Good Harvest

Our Store


Beat the Winter Blues!

Many people suffer from the winter blues or a type of depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder.  Sunlight is essential for maintaining a healthy mood, so the darkness of the winter months can take its toll on us. Low mood can become even more severe as the winter goes on, leaving you still feeling depressed when spring arrives.  Taking measures in the fall and early winter when the darkness rolls in will help you maintain an optimal mood all winter long. So if you’re experiencing symptoms of SAD this winter, start support in the fall next year.

Here are some suggestions for beating these winter blues:

Get Lots of Sun During the Summer Months

Build up your body’s vitamin D stores with plenty of sunshine during the spring and summer. Adequate sunshine during these months can carry you through the winter. Supplement with vitamin D3 and maintain adequate vitamin D levels. During the winter months your need for vitamin D increases because of lack of sun exposure. Supplementing with Vitamin D3 from 2000-5000 iu/day can be very helpful. I recommend having your blood levels checked so that you know how much to supplement with.  Ideally your vitamin D levels should be around 50 ng/dl..

Turn on the lights!

Keep your home or work place brightly lit during the day with lots of full spectrum lights. If you have a fire place, spend plenty of time relaxing in front of a cozy fire in the evening. Buy a light therapy lamp. Bright white lights can be a great substitute for natural sunlight. I recommend a bright white light emitting10,000 lux. Work your way up to 30-45 minutes of exposure at about 1-2 ft from you. The brighter the light box, the less time you need to be exposed to it, so units emitting 10,000 lux are ideal. Make sure the light hits your eyes (but do not look directly into the light). Do not wear eye glasses or contacts as the light needs to directly hit your retina. Be sure to use the light box during the daytime when the sun is shining outside (or supposed to be shining!). The morning when the sun comes up is a great time. The NatureBright SunTouch Plus Therapy Box is a good and is available on Amazon.com. Use for at least 20 mins every day. .

Exercise Regularly

Support Serotonin Levels

Consider supplementing with natural supplements to boost your brain’s serotonin levels. Serotonin is one of the main brain chemicals responsible for a happy, feel good mood. Research has shown that SAD is most likely due to serotonin depletion.  St. John’s Wort has been shown to increase serotonin levels.  900mg standardized to contain 0.3% hypericin at nighttime or in divided doses during the day is the typical effective dose. Do not take St. John’s Wort if on birth control as it interferes with the pill’s efficacy.  

Amino Acid Supplementation

Another option for boosting serotonin is the amino acid 5-HTP. Be sure to find a 5-HTP supplement that contains B6 or take an additional b vitamin containing B6. B6 is needed for 5-HTP to be converted to serotonin. Typical dosage is 50-150mg/day.  Some people with SAD may also benefit from boosting Dopamine - another feel good brain chemical. Serotonin and Dopamine work together in the brain to maintain a healthy mood. L-tyrosine is the amino acid that helps raise dopamine levels. Typical dosage of L-tyrosine is 500-1500mg/day. The book The Mood Cure by Julia Ross is a great resource for using amino acids such as 5-HTP and Tyrosine to help balance your brain chemicals such as serotonin, dopamine, epinephrine and norepinephrine.  Visit her website to take the Amino Acid Questionnaire to find out which amino acids you may benefit from.




Kathy commented 2014-03-01 20:09:04
I have a light box. I also have the beginning of cataracts. I have been told that sunglasses are a must when I am outside. Is this also true of a light box? I don't want to increase my need for surgery any more than necessary

Judy commented 2014-03-03 09:05:26
just wondering . . if the above steps to take are different in any way if you are a third shift worker AND have SADDS?

Judy commented 2014-03-03 09:05:41
just wondering . . if the above steps to take are different in any way if you are a third shift worker AND have SADDS?

Dr. Joanne commented 2014-03-04 21:51:32
The above recommendations are basically the same if you are a shift worker, however, the times you expose yourself to light should be shifted to accommodate your sleep/wake schedule. For example, since you are probably sleeping most of the daylight hours, instead of using a light box in the morning, consider using it at the time of day when you normally wake up. The key is to maintain a regular sleep/wake schedule (go to sleep and wake around the same time everyday.) When you sleep during daylight hours, use blackout shades and curtains to keep your room as dark as possible.You would also shift times you take amino acids - typically 5HTP is taken in the evening and Tyrosine in the daytime - so you may want to try switching the order.

Add a Comment

Let's make sure you're not a spammy robot, 'kay?
Also, click on the image to refresh.

Newsletter Signup

Keep up to date with specials and events at Good Harvest!

Sign Up Here!

Archived Posts


wellness (45)
healthy (43)
nutrition (38)
organic (14)
illness prevention (10)
natural remedies (9)
supplements (8)
detox (8)
weight loss (8)
Show All Tags