“In the depths of winter I finally learned there was in me an invincible summer.”—Albert Camus, French writer (1913-1960)
I used to get terrible SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) every winter. For years, December would hit me like a ton of bricks, and the “real me” would go away until April or May. It wasn’t until one year when it occurred to me, in the midst of the darkness, that “summer will return” did SAD finally ease its grip on my winter well-being. (I know that seems so simple, but it’s true!)
When I ran my second home business, my office was in the only spare space in the house: my dark basement. Great for privacy. Terrible for SAD prevention!!
I think that a LOT of people get a little down in the winter months, without realizing that they might be allowing SAD to affect them a little bit. The tricky thing about SAD is that it gives little clues as to what will help.
You certainly don’t sit around saying to yourself, “Gosh, I am really craving some sunlight right now!”
No, SAD creeps insidiously into our minds, disguising itself as emerging self-doubt, dipping self-esteem, and increased impatience or mood swings.
Even today I must be very proactive in the winter months to keep SAD at bay. And especially since I am working out of the house again, there is even more to do to stay happy and positive:
- Swap out regular light sources with full-spectrum bulbs, which are available at any major home improvement store (Lowes, Home Depot, Menard’s, etc.)
- Make infrequent trips to the tanning salon (not recommended, of course, if you have very fair skin!)
- Religiously schedule adult time with friends and/or business acquaintances
- Commit to regular trips out of the house, working or playing anywhere but the usual house, especially if your home office has no windows
- Move your office if possible to a spot with natural sunlight
- Eat healthy, particularly increasing your intake of lots of green veggies
- Stay hydrated—our bodies function best when we’re not dehydrated
- Pamper time is a must!
- B vitamins and St. John’s Wort are good supplements to keep the mind focused and positive
- Stay productive, because procrastination is a huge guilt-inducing energy-drain
- Start or maintain your exercise routine, which will increase much-needed endorphins
- Find a creative outlet through crafting, art, music, drama, or anything else that inspires you
“After winter comes summer. After night comes the dawn. And after every storm, there comes clear, open skies.”—Samuel Rutherford, Scottish clergyman (1600-1661)
Related Story: Handling the Wintertime Blues