Curbing Seasonal Affective Disorder: Friendly tech to beat the winter blues

Room humidifier. Picture: cottonbro studio/Pexels

Room humidifier. Picture: cottonbro studio/Pexels

Published Jul 11, 2023


Winter has officially arrived. Cape Town is suffering heavy rains and cold weather, while the highveld shrivels up in the dry and icy conditions.

Flu season is well on its way, even in coastal Durban, and with load-shedding hovering over us like a dark cloud, it seems we are in for a very long, very uncomfortable winter.

Dealing with winter blues, also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (Sad), can be challenging for many people. While traditional methods such as light therapy, exercise, and spending time outdoors can be effective, there are tech-friendly methods that can also help alleviate the symptoms.

While these methods may seem unorthodox, they can provide convenient and accessible solutions to dealing with the winter blues. However, it's important to remember that individual experiences may vary, and it's always advisable to consult a health-care professional for personalised advice and treatment options.

Trevor Brewer, director of air treatment and lifestyle company Solenco, outlines some of the top energy-efficient tech that will help keep you healthy, warm, and happier this winter.

Air purifiers

With the rising cost of electricity in South Africa, trapping heat in our homes in the colder months to compensate is going to become more common. However, Brewer says, this is often to the detriment of our health as we also trap bacteria and viruses indoors, giving them nowhere to escape.

“Air purifiers are a great way to destroy bacteria and airborne viruses that may be lurking. They use filtration mechanisms to remove toxins from the air,” says Brewer.


When the temperature drops in winter, so does the humidity level. This lack of moisture can dry out your skin, aggravate respiratory conditions, and even damage your wooden furniture. By using a humidifier, you can infuse your living space with moisture, countering the harsh effects of dry winter air.

Room humidifier. Picture: cottonbro studio/Pexels


If you’re in a part of the country that experiences wet winters, such as the Western Cape, a dehumidifier will help prevent dampness and mould, and will also dry up the water vapour that tends to gather when you’re heating your home with the windows and doors shut.

“Dehumidifiers are just like a really clever vacuum cleaner, it breathes in the air, removes all the moisture, and then breathes dry air out again,” said Brewer.

Virtual reality (VR) therapy:

Virtual reality headsets can transport you to different environments, allowing you to experience the sights and sounds of nature, sunny beaches, or other uplifting settings. VR therapy has shown promising results in improving mood and reducing symptoms of depression.

Smart light bulbs:

Smart light bulbs, like those compatible with voice assistants or smartphone apps, can mimic natural sunlight by adjusting their brightness and colour temperature. You can program them to gradually brighten your room in the morning, simulating a sunrise and helping you wake up more naturally.

Mood-boosting apps:

Calm is a popular meditation and relaxation app that offers guided meditations, breathing exercises, sleep stories, and soothing music to reduce anxiety, improve sleep and enhance overall well-being.

Online support cCommunities:

Joining online support communities or forums dedicated to Sad can provide a sense of belonging and support. Engaging with others who are going through similar experiences can be comforting and help you feel less isolated during the winter months.

While there’s no escaping mother nature or Eskom se Push, there are some smart ways you can turn your home into the ultimate winter retreat this season.