Friday, November 23, 2012

Surviving SAD

It's that time of year when things are getting darker. But even worse it is just grey, grey, grey. If you get five minutes of sun it is a lifesaver.

Every year at around this time I start feeling a bit low. And then I start wondering what is going on. And I realize it is SAD. Yes, that cleverly named, silly illness otherwise known as Seasonal Affect Depression – or something – because I am too lazy to look it up (and I apologize if this is a repeat of an earlier theme -- again I'm going with blaming SAD)

Unless you have been in Sweden, or somewhere else a bit north, for any length of time,  you have no real concept of how dark the days get, or how light the summers get. And seriously, before I moved here, I did not know that NYC is on the same latitude as Madrid. I mean, it isn’t a commonly repeated factoid there.

But it is dark here. Really dark.

Here are some ways to help fight SAD. But really, the best cure? It’s the spring! If you have any thing that worked for you, let me know! I am pretty sure that most of these are just placebo effects, but every little bit helps.

1) Vitamin D – I usually take extra vitamin D during the winter, but am trying not to over do it being pregnant and all. But usually I just take massive doses and it helps a bit.

2) Fake sunlight – I tried the idea of one of those sunlamps that lights up slowly in the morning, simulating sunrise early in the morning, and it was actually quite helpful. But with the combination of strange work hours, a three year old and Pregsomnia there is really no hope that I will ever awaken by the light of the lamp. But if you don’t have such constraints, this is a nice little device.

3) Go for a walk outside – People swear by this. And I truly do feel better when I am outside. But when I come in, about 30 minutes later, the cloud of ‘meh’ comes back. This could be because we live in an apartment heated by a communal heat source, which means that our house is not that much cooler than a sauna.

4) Hibernate – This is the solution I would like to try, but sadly life gets in the way. But I guess it is just a symptom of SAD that I get the feeling that if I could just split my time between the bathtub and under the covers, I would be perfectly happy.

5) Get ready for Christmas! – OK this is one of those things that does cheer me up. Getting all the candles, lights, tree, ornaments and fanfare ready for Christmas. While it doesn’t lighten up the place, it does keep things warm and cozy. And it is fun.

Any thing I am missing?


  1. Lots of cozy lights inside!

    I just recently moved to Sweden, because of my husband-to-be, and I'm also pretty impressed how dark the days are here. As a real Swede he complaines a lot of course and I understand him. But I try to think positive. I knew where I would move to and I love the country no matter what.

    So I try to see this time of the year as a time to be at home and have it cozy, snuggly and warm. I just decorated our not-yet-ready appartement with a few warm lights, we have hot chocolate and yummy pies, we cuddle on the couch and enjoy family time. Every day I try to find small things that made me happy though the weather was pure crap and the sun didn't get up at all. I have a little book for all those things that brighten up the day: nice food, small presents we give each other, a nice shopping trip in town, walnut icecream, good sex - whatever.

    And: it will pass. :)

  2. Gosh, I already find it disturbingly in Northern Germany.. If I had the money I would totally go for a light therapy lamp.
    So if you can afford it... it just really helps to have a light with a lot more lux than the common light bulb.

    Plus: Do a little happy dance at midwinter's night (I have no idea what the correct English word is)

  3. Winter solstice.

    I feel your pain, think I do a combination of hibernation and excessive christmas baking.

  4. Lots of lighting - daylight bulbs are good. Once you have had your baby, and as long as you are not breastfeeding, you can take St. John's Wort, which is brilliant and best taken from October until the Spring. My husband is unbearable without it.

  5. Thanks for all of the tips... I have to say hibernating while baking, drinking hot chocolate, and having good sex certainly sounds like an ideal way to spend the winter. Now if I could just get rid of all of my other responsibilities so that I can do just that!! :) Actually I am cutting down on my work outside of the home due to my growing stomach, so I think it is a possibility, let me plot the ways!!

    Haven't tried St. John's Wort, although I have heard good things about it, but may have to when BFing and everything else is over.... which, knock on wood, won't be until next winter....

    hmmm I didn't do any baking last Christmas due to way too much going on, that might change this year!