Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), also known as winter depression, winter blues, summer depression, summertime sadness, or seasonal depression, is a mood disorder subset in which people who have normal mental health throughout most of the year experience depressive symptoms in the winter or summer.
A lot of people struggle with one season or another, for me I can’t really say it’s a season…it’s the loss of sunlight that kills me. Usually mid fall, as the days are creeping shorter and shorter and fall in Michigan usually means rain, doom and gloomy cold rain. I’m talking 40 degrees and all day drizzling, that chill that seeps into your bones and you just can’t shake.
This fall season, we’ve been lucky, not too many rainy days and the temperatures have been above normal. In actuality, the weather has been absolutely beautiful. It’s November 7th and we still have leaves on the trees, we’ve just hit peak change of color. I cannot remember any previous fall in Michigan were we had leaves on the trees on Halloween, let alone going into November. We’ve had a few rainy days here and there, but nothing that lasted weeks on end, no living in rain boots this fall. All in all, it’s been wonderful.
but. . .
The lack of longer daylight hours is still creeping up on me. I find myself not getting out of bed so easily. Wanting to crawl into bed sooner. Not being as productive around my house. My general mood some days is a fight and some days I say fuck it and just crawl back into bed with my dogs and watch movies all day. I eat because I’m bored, because I don’t want to do anything else…and especially carbs, way too much bread and pasta. Which I have been horribly guilty of the past three weeks. Then I waste way too much time surfing social media, almost blindly.
This year I’m trying to fight it, not just with forcing myself to get out and hike like I did this past weekend, but long term. Usually, I end up hermit-ing indoors during the winter. I’m not into skiing, snowboarded a couple of times as a teenager but no real interest in attempting that again. So for one reason or another I’m liking the idea of getting into snowshoeing… keep me outdoors during the winter, be able to get out to some of my favorite local trails, maybe explore a few new areas…. and hell just enjoy the season. Am I nuts?! Obviously yes.
Next on my list: diet.
Now I hate the word “diet,” it means something temporary… like the 3 day diet cleanse, the 30 day whatever diet. It’s a temporary lets fuck up our system, shock the hell out of it and get some drastic changes but not change our habits and see what kind of results we get! Well geez is there any real surprise that people go through these roller coaster diets with the same results over and over again?
Moving down the list: working out.
We all know, I know very well how to do this. I’ve spent the majority of my adult life in the top quarter of my age bracket for physical fitness. Not only does my career (since I was 19) require it, but I enjoy it. Ok, I might not enjoy it during. I may want to cuss the weights out, walk away, fight…but I push through and when the session is done, my mood and my body feel amazing…even if that amazing is laying on the floor in a puddle of sweat wondering what the fuck just happened. It’s a good feeling. It’s been my go to stress relief and mood booster for years; but it only takes me so far in the gloomy fall weather. Now factor in, recovering from an injury and my lifting numbers are not as heavy as they were this past summer. It’s not a bad thing. Mentally I am fine with it. In fact I had turned to yoga during the early stages of my recovery and now I am 10 days into a 30 day yoga challenge by Bad Yogi (You can find the free videos here: 30 Day Challenge Day 1). I’m enjoying it immensely, despite the fact my seasonal allergies have been absolutely bizerk… You trying down dog with your nose plugged and feeling the pressure in both cheeks. Sucks!
I will say the difference in my mood/attitude since making yoga a regular part of my day, is absolutely amazing… Now if I could actually force myself to sit and meditate a few minutes every day. Then again, I want to see anyone pull that off in my house. The 60 pound pittie, doesn’t have time for me wasting our time, by meditating. It can be difficult enough just trying to get through a 25-45 minutes of yoga; the arm, face, toe licking can get to such a point it is hard to focus and sometimes he positions himself in such a manner that it makes it difficult to move on my mat.
However, I still feel like there is something I’m missing. Something that can help with my mood, help keep my mood positive during the season changes.