Oh, damn. Just when we thought “depression” was a thing-of-the-past. Damn, damn, damn! The “Winter Blues” aka Seasonal Affective Disorder are ba-ack. Oh, damn.
After a lovely Summer of warm sunshine, golden tans and nary a cloud on the horizon, suddenly there’s a Big Blue Dark Cloud. For me, it starts as so-called “Afternoon Depression.” It hits at 3 p.m. ever afternoon. Something about the light, the angle of the sunshine is so, so gloomy! I just hate afternoons. Gloom descends. I can’t wait for the warm, calming, comforting twilight. The twinkle of starlight and moonshine.
Here are some of the tricks I use to cope with the Winter Blues with a minimum of grrrrrrr each day.
- Get your Vitamin D checked: This isn’t optional. It’s vital especially if you’re indoors most of the time. Get to your doctor and ask them for a Vitamin D test. When my 25-Hydroxy D was tested in 2009, I was barely within the normal range. No wonder I felt like crap!
- Have Vitamin D Prescribed: It’s not enough to pick up a few Vitamin D capsules at Wal-Mart. I’ve taken those with very little result. No, ask your doctor to prescribe ergocalciferol. (It may even be covered by insurance!) I’m on a once-a-week dosage of 1.25 mg. That’s 50,000 USP units and it makes me feel much better. My husband’s Vitamin D was so low, he’s been prescribed twice that amount.
- Stay away from Fluoride: Believe it or not, my Winter Blues used to be much, much, much worse. Back then, I lived in the city. Moving to the country marked a huge improvement in my S.A.D. So what changed? My drinking water. The fluoride in city water has been directly linked to Seasonal Affective Disorder, something I can personally testify to. If possible, try to find unfluoridated water.
- Get Outside: I know, I know. When you’re feeling blue, the last thing you want to do is go outside. Curling up in bed with a bowl of ice cream sounds much better. Force yourself to go outside, preferably as soon as you wake up in the morning and start the day off right with fresh air and sunshine. It really helps.
- Do Full Spectrum Light Therapy: In the Winter months, even natural sunshine just won’t do the trick. That’s when I turn to my trusty full spectrum lightbox. They’re quite cheap on Amazon and really seem to help!
- Don’t Blame Your Life nor your Family: When the blues descend, you may not even realize that it’s simply your body chemistry going a bit off-kilter. It’s easy to think there’s something wrong with your life. Or your spouse. Or your family. Or your self. There isn’t. Come Spring, you’ll discover your life is peachy again so try not to work too hard on “fixing” your situation. Instead, focus on fixing your S.A.D.
- Watch Comedy: Distract yourself with the happiest things you can find. I watch a great deal of comedy during Winter. Anything to take my mind off how I’m actually feeling.
- Find What Works: For me, I depend on a supplement called “Nerve Control” from Amazon when the grrrrr gets a little too growly. Somehow, that mix of herbs adds a little sunshine to my mood and it can also tame the PMS from Hell. St. John’s Wort may also help. Fish around, try different things and find what works for you.
Seasonal Affective Disorder is just a feeling. A sensation. It’s not your fault. It may be genetic; mine is. But it’s not “real.” Just a feeling not related to your “real life.” As they say, “Into each life, some rain must fall.” All things considered, I’d rather have S.A.D. than a lot of other ailments. Things could be much worse. Oh, and by the way, gratitude can help too.
Hang in there! Spring is only, well, about six months away.