Here's your prescription of SAD-busting movies and TV shows to fight the winter blues

You may not be familiar with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) but it is a form of depression that people experience at a particular time of year or during a particular season. SAD is most common in countries like the UK where there are large changes in the weather and daylight hours in the different seasons.

Most people experience SAD during winter and there are a number of established techniques to tackle it. However, there's a new psychologist-recommended technique to add to the list of SAD treatments - watching TV.

With this in mind, leading flat and house share site SpareRoom commissioned psychologist Elaine Slater to research how watching television shows and films with others could have a positive impact on fighting SAD symptoms. 

According to Slater, "“Having spent time reviewing many TV shows and movies, it’s clear they are a mirror for everyday life. In the context of Seasonal Affective Disorder symptoms, television offers a window on a broad spectrum of similar issues. The ways characters not only engage and grapple with these issues, but in many cases demonstrate great resilience in overcoming them, can help us in our own lives."

After establishing a methodology to determine which TV series and movies have the potential to alleviate SAD symptoms, the psychologist has analysed content from across Netflix, Amazon Prime and NOW TV to identify a list of 20 titles with the right qualities to help beat SAD. 

The criteria used to determine which show might help tackle SAD include demonstrating the importance of relationships, inspiring hope, reminding us we shouldn’t be afraid to be our authentic selves, showing scenes of laughter and joy and containing lessons about not being afraid to overcome challenges.

In no particular order, the TV series and movies with the qualities to beat SAD are:
  • Grace and Frankie (Netflix)
  • The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon Prime)
  • The Blind Side (Netflix)
  • Good Will Hunting (Netflix)
  • About A Boy (Netflix)
  • Friends (Netflix)
  • Dumplin (Netflix)
  • Legally Blonde (Netflix)
  • Love and Other Drugs (Amazon Prime)
  • Catastrophe (Amazon Prime)
  • The Good Place (Netflix)
  • Queer Eye (Netflix)
  • Sex Education (Netflix)
  • Modern Family (Amazon Prime)
  • Pitch Perfect (Netflix)
  • Avatar (Now TV)
  • The Greatest Showman (Now TV)
  • School of Rock (Now TV)
  • Sex and the City (Now TV)
  • The Big Bang Theory (Netflix)
As well as watching the TV and films together, there are also a number of other techniques housemates can use to turn their whole living room into a SAD-busting environment: 
  • Use any opportunity to be exposed to natural light when possible – while watching SAD-busting shows, keep the curtains open until it gets dark or have a SAD light box next to you by the sofa
  • Manage SAD food cravings with a balanced, nutrient-dense diet – try to avoid binge eating whilst bingeing on your favourite shows
  • Exercise is important as physical activity increases energy levels and lifts mood so make sure you’re moving in between episodes
  • Avoid and manage stress where possible. Try to create more spare time to mindfully rest, relax and unwind in the company of your housemates
  • Most importantly, spending time with others can often be the best medicine for starting to feel yourself again, so plan time in your busy schedule to spend time with friends, family and housemates

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