Book Review: Winter Blues: Everything You Need To Know About Seasonal Affective Disorder

I first read Winter Blues by Dr. Norman E. Rosenthal back in the 1980’s when the first edition was printed. It quickly became a bestseller as people were hungry for information about this newly discovered diagnosis, Seasonal Affective Disorder. Some of us have trouble in the fall as the days shorten and the days become grayer. My mother used to phone me periodically with “the blues”. She’d say, “I don’t know why I’m so blue. There’s no reason.” We’d talk for a while but I felt helpless to help her.

As for my reaction to light, I always hated January and February as a young girl. I’d say it was because the holidays were over and it was cold, but I now know I too am sensitive to the loss of sunlight. Gray skies and empty trees are my image of winter when my energy diminished. In fall 1986, my mother became seriously ill. I was between jobs and moved from Miami to my sister’s home in Michigan to help care for Mamma. That first October I almost went into the fetal position. It wasn’t the cold; it was the darkness.  In 31 days, there were 28 gray days. It was like a grey blanket covered the sky and the sun was extinguished. I lost a lot of my energy and perkiness.

When I read Winter Blues, I finally understood my mother and myself.  It explained why at the age of 27, I moved to Miami from Tennessee and absolutely loved the bright days. Yes, it is hot and muggy, but I am happier and healthier. I have more energy and a positive attitude. I have lived in Tennessee and Michigan which are both beautiful states, but I cannot happily live there long-term. When I lived in Michigan in the winter, I used full spectrum light bulbs. Light therapy gives me more energy.  It really makes a difference for me. I decided to return to Florida where there is always the sun. I love it.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Winter Blues, S.A.D. by Dr. Norman Rosenthal

If you or someone you know has these symptoms, you really need to read this book. Now in its 4th edition, Winter Blues is a perennial best seller. When it was first released, it was declared a landmark book defining SAD and offering solutions. It is packed with information to help you evaluate your own seasonality and seek relief. There is now a workbook that is specifically designed to assist you in this process. Dr. Rosenthal is still considered the leading expert on this subject. I remember my mother and sincerely wish the book had been available for her.

Winter Blues Survival Guide for S.A.D.

In his own words:

Dr. Rosenthal:  Six percent of the US population, primarily in northern climates, is affected by SAD in its most marked form. Another 14 percent of the adult US population suffers from a lesser form of seasonal mood changes, known as winter blues. Of course, seasonality affects people all over the world. The prevalence of SAD in Oslo, Norway, was reported as 14 percent in contrast to 4.7 percent in New York City. In fact, someone may have winter blues while living in southern climates and convert to full blown SAD if he or she moves to a northern climate.

No one paid me to write this post. I just want to share my experiences, and if my words help even one person, I am thrilled. The book is available on Amazon and many other sites.

For more information, see

Norman Rosenthal

Winter Blues,   (Amazon, Affiliate Link)

Thanks for the visit. Get exclusive free printables & all the news straight to your mailbox!


* indicates required

Please see my Link Parties page for the parties where this post was shared.


I was raised in Tennessee but have lived in Florida for many years. Love my small home in the Tampa Bay area and its developing garden. My decorating style is eclectic - some vintage, some cottage, all with a modern flair. Pursuing a healthier lifestyle. Spent many years in social services but am happily retired.

18 thoughts to “Book Review: Winter Blues: Everything You Need To Know About Seasonal Affective Disorder”

  1. We do not have winter here, so I wouldn’t know about winter blues. But I personally have noticed that the weather does affects my mood and performance. The book sounds interesting. Have a great day!

  2. Carol, it’s nice to put a name to a feeling. I’m a Texas girl so I love sunshine and warmth (or should I say heat!). My favorite vacation is to the beach. My least favorite months are January, February and March which is when we have our winter. I hate going off daylight savings time. Darkness at 4:30 turns me off. It’s not funny that the acronym is SAD. Thanks for sharing this book and the information.

  3. Oh my – I can definitely relate! I lived in Tennessee for 21 years and hated when it would be cloudy and rainy for days or even weeks at a time. I’ve lived in Arizona for the past 10 years, and I LOVE the sun. It’s neat because when we do have cloudy days, I actually like them now. It’s a break from the sun that I can actually enjoy because I know it won’t last for an entire week! There are times that I even wish the clouds would last longer especially in fall and winter just so it can feel more like fall and winter. 😉 Visiting from Strawberry Butterscotch.

  4. First, I want to thank you for visiting my latest blog post and leaving a sweet comment! I truly appreciate it.

    I do not suffer SAD, but my hubby does. Having grown up in the northwest, Oregon & Washington, he doesn’t really know how long he suffered. So when we got the opportunity to move to Phoenix, AZ, we jumped at it! We have very few days of cloudy darkness and rain, and my hubby is much happier here!

  5. That’s why i feel so blessed to be in Florida during the winter. We got so tired of the rainy gray days here in Oregon. One of our daughters-in-law really suffered with SAD here in the Pacific Northwest; they chose to move to Colorado because of the sunshine (they like winter, as long as the sun shines, which it does there almost every day all year). She is so much healthier and happier there.

  6. This is a great book and I know that since I left up north I don’t have the winter blue’s. Thank you for sharing at Dishing it and Digging it link party. We love having you, Carol

  7. When we lived in Canada, the winter blues would get me after Christmas, winters there are really long. Now we live in the South of Spain and believe me, I’m tired of the sun. I know it sounds crazy, and don’t get me wrong, I appreciate it and it’s so good for us, but I’m ready for some grey skies and rainy days. I’m sure the book is a great read!

    1. There is a seasonality for summer too but less people experience it. I have a friend in Pennsylvania who adores winter and hates summer. Too much light and heat. Maybe you need a place more in the middle with seasons but less long winters. Thanks for the visit!

  8. I do love the spring and summer more than the other seasons of the year. Perhaps it is because of the light. I know that seasonal light disorder affects a lot of people, and depression is a huge byproduct of this issue. I’ve not tried the lights as I don’t think it affects me that badly. But if it would give me more energy then I don’t know what I’m waiting for! Definitely going to look into this. I can always be more energetic and who doesn’t want more happy? This girl will take all the happy she can get!

  9. Carol, excellent post. I suffer from this too … I didn’t realize it until I moved from Fl to SC … they winters can be gray here but it wasn’t until last years 1,000 year flood where it was dark and rainy here for almost a month straight. Now I know if I’m feeling blue I need to seek the light lol xo

    1. Look for full spectrum light bulbs or you might look into a new light glasses. I haven’t tried them but read about them. I have more sunlight than I need here in Florida. Haha! Anyway you can check this website for more info. Hope your autumn is fab!

I love to make new friends and get to know you.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.