Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Who's S.A.D.?

Yesterday morning when I woke up at 7:00 , the temperature here was -5 degrees Fahrenheit. This morning when I woke up at 6:56, the temperature here was -6 degrees Fahrenheit.

In January, February, and March, I sometimes struggle (to varying degrees) with Seasonal Affective Disorder. I prefer to use the term "The Winter Blues" or "The Winter Blahs", because I don't like phrases that contain the words "I" and "disorder" in them. No matter what we call it though, the fact is that I tend to be more grouchy, less optimistic, and more prone to unnecessary worrying and discouragement during the winter months than I do during the other months. Some years it's agonizing (the winter of 2005 comes to mind), and some years it's just a little annoying. (So far this year looks like it might turn out that way. Here's hoping.)

Anyway, over the years, I've come up with a few little survival techniques that have helped me get through the winters with more joy and less gloom. So, just for fun, I'll post a few of them here:

1. I have 5-6 hat/scarf sets, and I wear them almost every day. I'm lucky in that my hair looks about the same whether or not I've just taken off a hat. That works out well for me, because I simply LOVE wearing hats in the winter. They keep me warmer, and for some reason I feel jauntily pretty when I'm wearing one. As to the scarves, that's more of a warmth thing than an "I feel pretty" thing. I'm always surprised at how much colder I feel when I leave the house without my scarf. Call me a wimp, but I'd rather be wimpy and warm than strong and cold.

2. I try to schedule at least one out-of-the-valley trip in either February or March each year. This year Eric and I are taking our we-didn't-gain-any-weight-over-the-holidays reward weekend trip in February. We'll probably just end up in Salt Lake, but I'm looking forward to that nearly as much as if we were headed to balmy Jamaica. And then (speaking of balmy), in March we're headed to Alabama to visit the Keslers. How fun will that be? Thoughts of that trip are getting me through many a cold winter morning these days.

3. I start reminding people in the middle of February that my birthday is less than a month away. It's a bit obnoxious, but nothing gets me through a cold snowy January, followed by a cold snowy February, followed by a cold snowy March, like remembering that my birthday is coming up. Since celebrating a birthday isn't nearly as fun alone as it is with others, and since I have extremely good-natured friends and relatives who humor me, I've gotten pretty good at milking this as my own personal holiday. It's GREAT.

4. Sometimes, when the clouds settle in for more than a day or two, I take a quick road trip up into the mountains on my lunch break. I'm generally amazed at just how much of a difference a few minutes in the sunshine can make for my outlook.

That's pretty much all I can think of for the moment, and I have a pretty full evening planned. So, I'd better end this for now. Stay warm out there.


ps-Two posts in two days! Don't get used to this. You may not hear from me again until Sunday or Monday.


Bamamoma said...

That trip in March is getting us through all but 1 chemo weekend - yup we'll just have one left after you leave. Woo hoo! We are planning a little friendly, health competition with the Cantwells to culminate on that trip. I'll give you details next time we talk.

Laura said...

For a long time my husband called February- COPE-UARY....but now he thinks January is COPE-UARY. The cold....the gray...I wish I were a bear.

Cramster said...

Good tips. Way fun that you get to go visit Heidi!!

Maybe you should consider moving to a warmer climate... (i.e. Phoenix) that has sunny and 60 degree winters. :) (Remember, I have to gloat right now, in a few months it will be your turn as I melt every day... speaking of which is there such a thing as S.A.D. for heat?)

Tonya said...

I haven't ever really had trouble with the winter blues. Don't get me wrong, I live in Oregon so by the time the spring comes, I'm over the rain.

It's great that you have figured out some coping mechanisms.

P.S. I'm jealous that you are cute in hats. I look horrible :o)

Jake said...

Drawing from my vast amount of knowledge from reading numerous exhilarating papers on the subject it has come to my attention that two remedies for SAD are sunlight and exercise (kind of makes sense doesn't it).

Soooo.. you could always try a sun lamp (one of the Doctors I worked with put two of them in his front office and he has been amazed at the change in attitudes of the nurses since that time). Or you could take up Skiing and then you might be sad when the snow melts (that's what I plan to do in the future).

Sometimes you just have to give some unsolicited advice to (especially when a fellow blogger points out you spelling and grammar errors).

Jake said...

I'm working on my innercity speak here in SB so instead of your car I say you car.

Jodi said...

I have a $250 Verilux light box. My insurance paid for it. I put it by my bed during this months and it is the first thing to go on in the morning. That might be kind of obnoxious if you get up first, but seriously 15 min a day does wonders.

sheena said...

HI! Thanks so much for stopping by my blog!! And thanks a million for the cold weather tips! It's driving me nuts because it's too cold to play outside and my kids are going CRAZY doing the same things everyday!!

and so jealous of all your fun hats. my head is way too big for anything cute!

musicmom said...

I have been browsing your blog off and on, from Jeri's link. I thought I would tell you that I think your goal to learn all the Primary songs is a WONDERFUL idea. I have lived in 6 different wards, and none have had an adequate number of pianists. This one in Montana is the worst. I wish you the best of luck on your goal. And as for the Moonlight Sonata-- don't give up totally on the idea. It really isn't as hard as it looks. There is a lot of repetition, and the same basic pattering in bottom hand throughout the whole song. By the time you get through the Primary book, it will be a piece of cake.

As for the winter blues, I think we all get them to some extent. Lots of sunlight, and positive thinking is all that helps me. I wish that I looked good in a hat :)

Laura-- the one who never "lived" at your house.

Charlotte said...

Two Lauras leaving two comments on one post! It's a record!

Thanks to you all for your encouragment and advice. I'm looking into the Verilux box, especially if I can get insurance to pay for it.

And as to the piano--Laura, your encouragement came just as I was hitting the "My teacher wants me to learn the hymn version of 'Called to Serve' rather than the Primary version and I'm struggling" wall. I'll press on though.

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