Are You SAD?

Comments 12 by Rebecca Bollwitt

It’s that time of year when you just want to overdose on Peppermint Mochas then curl into a ball and nap until March.

Photo credit: kk+ on Flickr

Being in Vancouver, our sun doesn’t rise until after you arrive at work in the morning, and it sets well before you head out the door, bound for home. This leads to many of us becoming Gloomy Guses and Debbie Downers. The effect of the change of season, time and temperature actually has a name: “SAD” or “Seasonal Affective Disorder”.

“…also known as winter depression, is an affective, or mood, disorder. Most SAD sufferers experience normal mental health throughout most of the year, but experience depressive symptoms in the winter…” [wiki]

Symptoms could be: fatigue, increased need for sleep (I’m a total over-sleeper lately), decreased levels of energy, weight gain (where the Peppermint Mochas come into play), increase in appetite, and difficulty concentrating.

So just how do we deal with the SAD blues? Eat some protein, cause it makes you happy (ie. eggs for breakfast are tasty and contain 13 vitamins minus vitamin C), and try to get as much sunlight as you can or even turn on some more lights in the house (making sure they’re CFL‘s eh).

If your symptoms begin to seriously affect your everyday life, consult your doctor or mental health professional.

What do I do? Pretty much everything listed above AND I make sure when I get to work that I put on my headphones and crank some rockin’ tunes. The International Noise Conspiracy saved me today. That’s for sure.

Basically for SAD sufferers, try to sustain a well-balanced diet, work in some exercise during the week, stay involved with social activities, and get outside even if it’s cloudy (tanning beds are not helpful in this regard) – the effects of daylight still work wonders. [source: Cleveland Clinic]

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12 Comments  —  Comments Are Closed

  1. Tyler IngramTuesday, December 11th, 2007 — 1:05pm PST

    I think I have SAD. In fact i look out side now and its dark a miserable out and so it my mood. I’m just meh.

    When the clouds break and the sun comes out i feel great! Though it doesn’t help that when I leave for work its dark out and when I leave work.. its still dark out!

    You can also pick up those lights at pharmacies etc and do a ‘sunshine therapy’ session for 30mins. The closer to natural light is supposed to help.

    Though I am sure that work at times also contributes to a meh mood!

  2. RaulTuesday, December 11th, 2007 — 1:08pm PST

    Hey Rebecca,

    It’s so terribly sunny here you won’t even believe. I am so excited that the temperature is 25 oC! Anyhow, I did extensive research for a blog post on SAD that you and your readers might find useful too.

    Hugs from here,

  3. Keira-AnneTuesday, December 11th, 2007 — 1:54pm PST

    The only thing that makes me “SAD” is time spent apart from my Becky. I can’t wait to overdose on peppermint mochas with you on Saturday.

    However, with respect to the symptoms…yup – I need lots of extra sleep. I have to argue though because time spent in tanning beds, though evil, sure feels divine. But then again, isn’t everything that feels good supposed to be bad for you?

  4. JennyTuesday, December 11th, 2007 — 2:50pm PST

    It’s my understanding that people who come from elsewhere are more prone to this disorder as they are not used to all the dark and cloudy days we westcoasters have always known. I think having been born and raised here I feel pretty immune to it. That being said , I would love to escape to a tropical paradise for a bit !

  5. Alexa BoothTuesday, December 11th, 2007 — 3:39pm PST

    @Jenny I dated a guy from the Philippines– he had SAD, so maybe there is something to that 🙂

    >>(I’m a total over-sleeper lately)
    Yup, pretty much that’s me.
    and for protein I’ve been eating salmon in the morning, or hummus or peanut butter is always a good one!

    Some herbs like St. John’s Wart, Lavender, Chamomile help for emotional balance too! I definitely experience happiness when it is a nice day, but I do enjoy the rain and cold *sometimes* I’ve been feeling sad these last few weeks, but think it’s more to do with recent events rather than the changing season. But I’m sure freezing cold weather doesn’t help. Going for runs around seawall- something that makes me feel a lot better when I wake up in the morning- makes my ears fall off, and really isn’t that enjoyable now that it’s so bloody cold!

    I can totally understand the stupid lack of sunlight thing, when I worked in Langley, I’d leave the house and it be dark until I reached about Surrey on the skytrain. Then when I left work it was dark dark dark. Oh, and should I mention there were *No windows* in my office. I think I lost my mind in the months of november-february.

    SAD or no SAD, sunlight makes people happy 🙂 I want more of it!

  6. JenniferTuesday, December 11th, 2007 — 3:54pm PST

    Great tips, Rebecca! It does seem to get harder and harder to get out of bed this time of year. I do find that exercise helps a ton, but I still wish I could stay snuggled under my covers longer. And I really hate the going to and from work in the dark.

  7. Jonathon NarveyTuesday, December 11th, 2007 — 9:21pm PST

    I’m not sad at all! Burnt out… maybe. I reeeeeeeally need to take a holiday. Just one more week…

  8. ArianeTuesday, December 11th, 2007 — 10:08pm PST

    i’m SADing hardcore today…i just feel like eating and hibernating! luckily not so bad when the sun’s out, and we’ve been getting quite a bit lately–i have prairie blood, so too long without sun doesn’t agree with me. 😉 also super burnt out though, CAN’T WAIT for the holidays. speaking of that extra sleep…i think it’s time for some of that right now!

  9. JWednesday, December 12th, 2007 — 1:07am PST

    Tanning beds TOTALLY work for me…

  10. John BollwittWednesday, December 12th, 2007 — 10:24pm PST

    Working out, running, and vitamin B. That’s my formula. Maximizing exposure to sunlight is a bonus for sure.

    We actually used to have a person at my old station that had a hardcore case of SAD. He would bring in his own light for a five hour shift on air. We used to call it his “grow light”.

  11. TimThursday, December 13th, 2007 — 6:22am PST

    I love my Litebook… don’t use it all the time but it does the job when I need it.

  12. Miss604’s Vancouver Blog » Blog Archive » Happy in VancouverFriday, January 25th, 2008 — 9:23am PST

    […] was deemed the most depressing day of the year. If your winter SAD has kicked in or your holiday bills are catching up to you, that classification might be justified. […]

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