I tend to suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.). I find it builds over the season. I’ve felt it more these last few weeks, as it tries to become Spring, but just can’t get over the hump. Here in the Northeast, we’ve had multiple days of rain or clouds. It decreases my energy and leaves me wanting to just eat.

The Mayo Clinic web site links it to depression. They say lethargy, fatigue, hopelessness, anxiety, loss of energy, social withdrawal, oversleeping, appetite changes and cravings for carbohydrates (comfort food) are also common. Consequently, weight loss. And also difficulty concentrating and processing. What was I talking about?

Some of the causes are the state of your mental health to begin with, genetics, age and a disruption of your circadian rhythms. I like that one the best. Technically, the reduction of sunlight lowers the Serotonin (a factor in migraines if you remember). Melatonin increases with more darkness and both combine to create depression.

I wrote a piece once called “Winter Woes from Head to Toes.” Not only do I become a hermit in the winter – only going out if I absolutely have to – I also have bouts of dry skin on my feet, hands and face. My back gets sore more often from the lack of movement. My stomach hurts from the heavier food. My hair collects static and is more unwieldy than in humidity. I’m grumpy and out of sorts. I’m not a big fan of winter.

Light Therapy is the first recommendation. (See my previous blog on this.) I’ve heard tell of folks who have had lots of success with this. I have a full-spectrum light in my office, but I don’t sit close enough to it. There is a problem of it stimulating too much, so be sure to sit under your light in the morning They warned if you have bipolar or other manic conditions, don’t use the light, but you would probably know that already. It’s also a good idea to spend as much time outside as you can stand. The usual prescriptions for good health apply: get some exercise, take good care of yourself, manage your stress, socialize more. Seems a tough job when I have no energy, don’t feel like seeing anyone and spend more time than usual stressing about the weather. A remedy I particularly like is to take a vacation in a sunny, warm place! I have one full-proof way to avoid it: Live in a warmer climate. Amen.