Fall back, Spring ahead!

Every year we turn our clocks back in the fall for Daylight Savings Time (DST.) This one hour change makes me crazy. The mornings start off with more light but darkness greets me an hour earlier and it’s disturbing.

cropped-cropped-cropped-rainbow-in-felt-idaho2-sm.jpgFor many others, it’s more than disturbing  –   it’s dangerous because depression, moodiness and lack of energy sets in when sunlight disappears. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) can send happy, healthy people into a state of flux.

One woman I know had a light box on her desk at work. It substituted for natural sunlight during the winter months. It was her medicine to help her stay sane. Most important of all, it helped her feel grounded when she the rest of her was out of balance.

Remember, for those of us without SAD who feel a shift in attitude due to less light, shorter days, and weather changes we can benefit from additional time outside. Scheduling short walks throughout the day (because if we don’t schedule them …) will help more than you can imagine. You will end up saying to yourself, “why don’t I do this more often?”

The thing is – I’m not ready to say goodbye to the summer even though it’s actually fall. The autumn here has been so warm, colorful and inviting that it’s difficult for me to understand Saturday is November 1. On November 2, the Daylight Savings Time begins.

I’ll change the clock back one hour but I won’t do it with a smile…

 

Here Comes the Sun!

How about some song therapy to go along with your light box?

Sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are gray…To beat the blues, turn on some light and add some sunny tunes.

The Beatles wrote about a long cold lonely winter where it feels like years since the sun has been here. In places far from the equator (think Sweden, Norway, Ireland, United Kingdom, Canada, Maine, Montana…) the daylight hours are few and darkness has a way of taking over your psyche.

Here comes the sun, here comes the sun, and I say it’s all right

Little darling, it’s been a long cold lonely winter
Little darling, it feels like years since it’s been here
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
and I say it’s all right
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_7DylPxNwYQ

Songs, additional light sources and conversation are things you can do now to alleviate your depression. Remember to involve others and let them know how you’re doing.

Sunny, yesterday my life was filled with rain.
Sunny, you smiled at me and really eased the pain.
Oh, the dark days are gone and the bright days are here,
my sunny one shines so sincere.
Oh, Sunny one so true, I love you.

When songs don’t do it for you – try to take a trip to sunny destination.
Sitting on the dockWhile you’re doing your travel research, turn on the light boxes as a way to remind you that the sun will return…eventually.

“All my bags are packed …I’m ready to go – Leaving on a jet plane…”

Save travels!

Links:
Feeling Sad and Blue?
Seasonal Affective Disorder
SAD

Why so SAD?

It’s that time of year again… not enough light because of the fewer hours in the day of sunlight, too many clouds, too much snow, too many hours inside.  If you’re feeling depressed and irritable you may have Seasonal Affective Disorder, aptly referred to as SAD.

Symptoms:
You may notice this if you’re feeling tired, depressed, irritable, decreased activity levels and body aches. These symptoms feel more intense during the darkest months of the year. People who live farthest from the equator and have shorter days in the winter months will feel this depression longer.

Treatments:
Exposure to light will help lift  your blues and get your body back into an active state.  Bright lights, especially florescent lights used in the morning and evening will work best. Something a bit more fun may be a trip to a warm sunny climate for a period of time as a way to warm you up and lift your mood.

The important thing to remember is this state of flux is temporary and will leave when the earth shifts and seasons change. If it’s too heavy to live with and the depression is too severe, perhaps a move to a sunny climate is in store for you.  Sunny Florida, Arizona or California will offer some respite during the dreary winter months and may be someplace you move to during the winter months or year round.

Search for the Light:
Phototherapy has been used successfully to get more light into your life. A light box can be used to alleviate some of your depression.  A light box, is designed to offer enough brightness (25x brighter than a normal lamp light bulb) to lift your mood.

Turn to the light …and then turn to your friends and family and let them know what’s going on with you. A social network can be effective and healing in getting you over this low time.

Links:
Feeling Sad and Blue?
Seasonal Affective Disorder
SAD

“Women Comprise Majority of SAD Sufferers” (by HealthyPlace.com)

About 70-80% of those with SAD are women. The most common age of onset is in one’s thirties, but cases of childhood SAD have been reported and successfully treated. For every individual with full blown SAD, there are many more with milder “Winter Blues.” The incidence of SAD increases with increasing latitude up to a point, but does not continue increasing all the way to the poles. There seems to be interplay between an individual’s innate vulnerability and her degree of light exposure. For instance, one person might feel fine all year in Texas but develop SAD when she moves to Toronto. Another individual may be symptomatic in New York City, but have few symptoms in Miami. Some individuals who work long hours inside office buildings with few windows may experience symptoms all year round. Some very sensitive individuals may note changes in mood during long stretches of cloudy weather.
Read entire article at Seasonal Affective Disorder