From SAD to GLAD!
Wow, how many inches of snow did we get this winter? 42 inches? That is the height of a small child. Let’s hope the snow is really done this year, as we are slowly seeing temperatures rising (knock on wood!) and we are getting more into the spring spirit after turning our clocks forward an hour.
But how was your winter really?
“Seasonal affective disorder (also called SAD) is a type of depression that follows the season and the most common type of SAD is called winter depression. SAD is estimated to affect 10 million Americans. SAD is more common in women than in men. Illness typically begins around age 20. Not everyone with SAD has the same symptoms, but common symptoms of winter depression include the following: feelings of sadness, a tendency to oversleep, weight gain, a drop in energy level, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating” (Psychology Today).
Now I know you’re sitting there responding with a, “Oh no, I don’t have seasonal affective disorder.” And maybe you’re right, maybe you don’t. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have feelings similar to those that experience SAD.
This winter, I found myself craving to leave work by 4pm because I was so tired. Tired of what? Sitting at my desk chair and typing at a computer? Instead of pushing myself to go to the gym, I found myself rushing home from work to sit on the couch and watch tv until bedtime. I have to note that sometimes, a day like that is needed, because I am definitely an advocate for giving the body enough rest time to be able to function and remain healthy. With that being said, I’m pretty sure a weekly encounter of the couch by 5pm, and no gym time, was probably a lazy and unhealthy decision of mine.
Why did I make these decisions day after day? I was feeling what those describe as SAD. Although I did not have the actual disorder, my body and my feelings were being triggered by the weather. I found myself continuously choosing to be sluggish, lazy, unmotivated, and tired. And that is no way to live my life. I found it so much more difficult to be happy and excited about anything because I was allowing myself to create habits related to the weather and to let the weather tell me how to feel.
Depending on the level of where you find yourself (some people actually have SAD and should talk to a doctor, while others feel related symptoms of SAD due to the winter weather) it is super important to get better. Instead of slumping home to lay around, take a walk, meet up with friends, or go to the mall. Any activity that takes you away from your normal routine is going to help keep you active and healthy and can help you avoid the habitual sad winter feelings.
I found myself doing much better at work once I bought myself a small, cheap sunlight desk lamp that gives off light similar to the sun, exposing my body to what it naturally gets from sunshine. Although this might not work for everyone, I really did see a difference in my personality and the daily choices I was making.
I’m sure this article might have been of more help last month when all the snow storms decided to come rolling though. Hopefully those were the last of it and this March will bring warmer weather. Maybe you don’t have to buy yourself a sun lamp, but you can sit in front of the window at work to catch some rays, making your body feel better and more motivated. Spring is right around the corner!