‘Winter Blues’ and The Day of Optimism

I really don’t relish winter.

Probably more specifically, I don’t really like the 6 months from around September onwards. Only half the year!

To me, everything just gets worse. Colder, wetter, darker. Gloomy and miserable.

The garden looks barren and lacking colour; everything dies back. There’s no opportunity to do any gardening as it’s dark by the time the children are in bed in the evenings which is usually my only opportunity to get out there.

I’m not fond of the snow when it happens. Apart from the fact that we Brits clearly don’t cope with winter weather as well as we should, I am conscious of the impact on those who are most vulnerable; the elderly and homeless who suffer serious consequences in these conditions from accidents or simply from sheer coldness.

The only thing to look forward to amongst all of that is Christmas. Admittedly, I quite enjoy the sunny frosty days and had a wonderful morning walk on one of these not so long ago (the blog image was taken that day). Since having the children, of course the snow has an element of fun too. After our recent little snowfall, the 3 year old wanted to make a snowman and there wasn’t enough; on this occasion, seeing his disappointment and feeling very helpless, I did wish a little more would come!

Historically, I have also ended up working in windowless rooms quite frequently. This adds to the challenges; I love big bright windows! There have been days in winter when I haven’t seen any daylight all day; just awful.

The time of hope and optimism, for me, starts today…December 21st…the Winter Solstice. The shortest day. Everything will improve. The weather will get warmer and nicer. Most crucially for me, the daylight will last longer. There will be signs of new growth and hints of the Spring to come; my favourite season. I love the colours of Spring and the knowledge that the opposite process will happen; improving weather, longer days and thriving nature. With this comes more opportunity to be outside; pottering in the garden, enjoying the countryside and visiting the wonderful coastal areas like my favourite spots in Cornwall (and ideally getting in the sea for a surf!).

I have never formally thought about whether I have ‘Seasonal Affective Disorder.’ Undoubtedly, as explained, Autumn and Winter is my least favoured time of year. But, I normally just get on with it and wait for the next bit! It’s there though, even if I have never really acknowledged it. Is it a coincidence that my psychological crisis point happened in September? I don’t know. There were (and still are) so many other contributory factors but I suspect this was also in the background to a small degree.

I think it is fairly common in the population in general. There are various strategies to make things feel better. Relatively obvious things like getting outside and making the most of natural light as much as possible. Then the SAD lamps are widely known about – I don’t yet own one. I am considering getting one of the sunrise alarm clocks which can also be used as a simple lamp. They supposedly work by mimicking sunlight and consequently the associated beneficial hormonal effects (unclear evidence). There are also other means to improve symptoms such as medication, counselling and cognitive-behavioural therapy. i.e. similar approaches to any other form of depression.

If you’re struggling with ‘Winter Blues’ too….hang in there…today is the turning point; the day of optimism!



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