Winter definitely has some advantages… think of curling up in front of a roaring fire, sipping red wine and toasting marshmallows. Or climbing in to a bed that has been pre-heated by your electric blanket. Think of rugging up for the first time in your favorite coat, scarf and beanie. Yes, it’s a pretty picture – but one most of us want to look at for about 5 minutes.
If like me you live in a part of the world that experiences the cold for a good few months at least, you could be a candidate to experience S.A.D ( Seasonal Affective Disorder). I live in Victoria, Australia where we are just coming in to winter now.
Over the last week, I started to notice that coincidentally, nearly every conversation I was having with my friends was around feeling generally unsettled. One friend wants to change careers, another wants to move house, the other was booking a holiday she couldn’t afford. When I looked at my own current state of mind, I noticed I was feeling a bit apathetic. Things that normally interested me, I couldn’t be bothered with. That’s when it dawned on me that there was a common thread. Maybe we were all suffering a little from the onset of winter… maybe we were all feeling the effects of S.A.D.
It was time to take action! I had to think of how I could be on the front foot this winter. I made a list of the must-do things that I thought would give me a lift if I felt I was slipping…
- Make big batches of hearty, healthy soup to be my comfort food (instead of the usual quick carb fixes).
- Schedule things to look forward to eg Dinner with friends, trips to the movies, date night with hubby.
- Try bikram yoga (at least I’ll be warm)
- Make sure I still rug up and get my nature fix by walking the dog around the river.
- Make a list of light-hearted movies and TV series to sink my teeth into at night.
- Stay aware of my thoughts. Keeping an eye on the way I speak to myself makes a big difference.
- Make myself an uplifting music playlist
- Do things for others who need help
There was initially a lot of skepticism around S.A.D. however experts now treat it as a common disorder. Symptoms can include:
- feelings of hopelessness
- difficulty concentrating
- withdrawal from social interaction
- sleep and appetite problems
- craving carbs
- difficulty waking up
- lack of energy and motivation
If you think you may be suffering from S.A.D. take this simple test (see link below) to find out. Knowledge is power. Once you shine a light on it, you can take steps to combat it.
And remember – happiness isn’t a given – it’s something that should be practiced.