Seasonal Affective Disorder combined with small business owners’ slow time of the year is a deadly cocktail. Most regions in the United States just turned their clock back one hour. However, many of you are still leaving for work in the dark and getting home when it is dark. You work all day inside an office with artificial light and sometimes artificial people. When you get home you are exhausted and don’t want to work on your business. Does this sound familiar? It may also be your slow season, which gives you no perceived reason to turn on your computer.

This funk you find yourself in is very common. Many people each year are diagnosed with Season Affective Disorder (SAD). You may not have the actual diagnosis, but you know you have to try really hard to self-motivate yourself so you don’t become a couch potato. Seasonal Affective Disorder arrives about the same time each year and ends at the same time each year. It takes a conscious effort to combat SAD. Adding to SAD is the fact it may be your slow season. Slow season equals very little income during a season where we have multiple gift giving holidays, higher heating bills, and clients who pay late.

SAD and depression can wreck havoc on your psyche. It is tempting to reach for food and alcohol to sooth your soul. I caution you against doing so. Below are strategies to help you stay focused and in a good place during the holiday season.

How to Stay Cheery When You’d Rather Be a Grump

1. Evaluate Your Diet: This is the time of year we love to bake high sugar and carb laced treats. Try to stay focused on fresh foods that are low in calories, low in sugar, and free from chemicals or ingredients you can’t pronounce. This will help you avoid the sugar or carb crash that goes along with gorging yourself on these treats. Plus any added weight gain will continue your spiral downhill.

2. Exercise: Exercise to the point you get your heart rate elevated. This means you should break into a sweat. If you don’t want to pay for a gym membership then just grab your sneakers and hit the pavement. If you don’t like the effects of breathing in cold air then bundle up and walk very fast at a longer distance. There are gym memberships for as little as $10 a month. Invest in a pair of quality running or walking shoes and get your heart rate elevated. It is easy to make excuses. But the time spent on the couch eating potato chips or cookies could be used to walk, run or use an elliptical. Stop with the excuses and make time to exercise.

3. Get Your Vitamin D: I read somewhere that most of us are deficient in Vitamin D due to wearing cosmetics that contain sunscreen. We are so worried about avoiding skin cancer so we are not allowing the natural absorption of Vitamin D. I recommend getting your Vitamin D levels checked at your next check up. If you absolutely don’t want to walk outside on a cold sunny day then I recommend you go to a tanning bed. Laying under the bright light where it is warm and toasty without the disruption of your cell phone will work magic on your mood. Plus, seeing yourself naked will help you stay on task with item one above.

4. Plan for Your Busy Season: Embrace this quiet time and plan your marketing and business growth strategies for the upcoming new year. This is a great time for a one-on-one retreat with your coach or meeting offsite with your members of your Mastermind Group. Thank God you have time to now focus on you and your business.

5. Create Passive Income: Use the free time to get your creative juices going. Create a product that you can add to your passive income stream. Set deadlines for you and your team to complete your product. Invest in coaching and have your Mastermind Group members hold you accountable.

6. Meet People: This new free time is a great reason to go on vacation. Go somewhere warm. Take a daring adventure. At a minimum go through your Rolodex and call an old friend and meet for a weekend or spend all night on the phone catching up on what each other has been doing. Do not sit home alone feeling sorry for yourself.

7. Volunteer: I learned a long time ago that there will always be someone prettier, slimmer, smarter, and wealthier than me. But, there are also people less fortunate. Get out and volunteer in your community or online. Find an organization that aligns with your values and interests and give them a call. I bet they need volunteers.

8. Enjoy the Solitude: Use this time to reconnect with yourself. Read the books that you have stacked in a pile. Watch an evening of mindless TV and eat your favorite snacks. Self reflect on all the good you do for others. Make a list of everything you have accomplished over your lifetime. I bet the list will surprise you. Think about what you would like to accomplish before you expire and make a new bucket list. Enjoy the solitude to research the costs of the items on your bucket list and design a plan to turn those dreams into a reality.

9. Put a $100 in Your Wallet: Go to the bank and get a crisp $100 bill. Put this crisp bill in your wallet where you will see it every time you open your wallet. Seeing this bill will empower you. You will know you have it in case you need it. You will know it is not ear marked to pay a bill and is truly yours. You will feel safe and accomplished with this crisp $100 in your wallet.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) affects many people each year. Every business has a slow season. If you are new business owner do not hide because things have slowed. Review your marketing and advertising strategy, up your online presence and embrace the slow the season. The savvy business owner recognizes and prepares for this slow time. My nine tips above will help you to embrace your slow season and confront Seasonal Affective Disorder without being a grump. But remember, SAD and depression can become serious medical emergency issues. Please seek assistance from a medical professional if you have thoughts of harming yourself or can’t seem to shake the foul mood. At a minimum call me or your coach for help too.

Author's Bio: 

Jaynine Howard this owner of Dream Catcher Business & Career Coaching. She is a retired United States Marine and former psychotherapist. Jaynine is on a mission to help others turn their dreams into reality. You can learn more about her services at