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Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)

Do you ever feel like the winter is just too much for you to handle? Do you have less energy and are having trouble concentrating during the darker months?  You might suffer from Seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

South Africa is blessed with glorious sunny weather.
Many of our activities are outdoors, and when it rains it’s easy to move an event to the next week with a certain amount of confidence that the weather will be better by then.  Germany has much less sunshine and it can be overcast for weeks on end.  Winter can be very cloudy, wet and dark. These wintery conditions also last longer than in South Africa. For many of us, this affects our moods, energy and well-being. 

 Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons. The symptoms may include feeling sad, down and listless. Many also report losing interest in activities they once enjoyed, feeling sluggish, sleeping too much, having carbohydrate cravings, difficulty concentrating and a feeling of hopelessness. 

The best therapy would of course be to spend time with loved ones somewhere sunny.
When this is not possible, you can try the following:

Lifestyle measures

These include getting as much natural sunlight as possible, exercising regularly and managing your stress levels.
Some suggest Vitamin-D can also help but this is not proven yet. According to Livingstrong, Vitamin D deficiency may cause

  • Muscle aches and weakness, Tiredness and chronic fatigue, Inflammation, Insomnia, Depression, Anxiety and an increased frequency of colds and infections


Talk therapy, particularly cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), can effectively treat SAD.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the type of antidepressant most commonly used to treat SAD.

Light Therapy

Light therapy mimics natural outdoor light and appears to cause a change in brain chemicals linked to mood.
You can read here more about buying the correct equipment


I am not a medical professional, and cannot give medical advice.
This post is merely to raise awareness about SAD.

 More information can be found on the Mayoclinic website or WebMD

Sunshine comparison

According to the South African Department of Energy, “Most areas in South Africa average more than 2 500 hours of sunshine per year”


  • The average sunshine hours per year for Pretoria is 3254 hours (of a possible 4383) with an average of 8:54 of sunlight per day.
  • It is sunny 74.2% of daylight hours. The remaining 25.8% of daylight hours are likely cloudy or with shade, haze or low sun intensity.
  • At midday the sun is on average 63.7° above the horizon at Pretoria.

Stuttgart, Germany

  • There is an average of 1776 hours of sunlight per year (of a possible 4383) with an average of 4:51 of sunlight per day.
  • It is sunny 40.5% of daylight hours. The remaining 59.5% of daylight hours are likely cloudy or with shade, haze or low sun intensity.
  • At midday, the sun is on average 41.6° above the horizon at Stuttgart.

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