I started writing this blog about Seasonal Affective Disorder in January. I just pulled it up now to finish it and realized that I have some new stuff to add to the article. At the same time – I still wanted to share this information so I will post the article as it stands and add a few caveats.
Hi guys! I am delighted to tell you that this, my second full winter in Cleveland, is decidedly better than winters of the past. My darling husband gave me a “go light” for Christmas and if I may be so bold to say, it has totally rocked my world!
Around this time last year and even just a few months ago, I was experiencing this feeling of NEEDING TO GET OUT! I was desperate for a trip to the south to get away from what I was experiencing as the cold and oppressive cloud.
Now being a coach, I was using every coachy technique to stay positive, to stay focused and see the beauty of life, but I am grateful to say that these days the effort is negligible since my new daily indulgence.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the phenomena I am speaking of, there is a condition on the books called Seasonal Effective Disorder or SAD.
SAD is something that is experienced by many people in the winter months when there is less sunlight available. Read the SAD Wiki.
I am not someone who is quick to take on a diagnosis but I can tell you two things:
1) my mom said that I was a happier person when I moved from Central Canada to the sunny sunny desert of Arizona ( I would agree)
2) there is just no denying that despite my best efforts the darkness of Cleveland winters has done a number on my mood. While there is a huge power in mind over matter I have to admit that PMS and SAD have both warranted some extra attention to keep their effects to a minimum.
There are several theories regarding the exact cause of treatment of Seasonal Affective Disorder. The Mayo Clinic Website sites the following as the most likely culprits:
Your circadian rhythm. This clock called the circadian rhythm lets you know when to sleep or wake. Disruption of your body's internal clock by lack of sunlight may cause depression.
Melatonin. Melatonin is a sleep-related hormone that, in turn, has been linked to depression. The body's production of melatonin usually increases during the long nights of winter.
Serotonin. Reduced sunlight can cause a drop in serotonin (a natural brain chemical that affects mood) which may lead to depression.
Read more at mayoclinic.com
While I would not say that I was experiencing “depression”, I can definitely say that I was not exuding the levels of Joelle-ness that I am used to. Thank goodness I have a husband who is sensitive to the level of Joelle-ness in our household!
Prince Jeff to the rescue!
As I said, my husband made a major contribution to my life with the Blue wave Go Lite.. This little, light weight apparatus comes out for 15 minutes every day and from 10:30 -10:45. I settle in at my desk and do a little sunbathing (the light is actually blue – apparently the best part of the spectrum for the job. It is also void of the skin cancer threats that come with some other sun lamps.)
My experience has been two fold:
1) I enjoy adding the ritual of enjoying my light on a daily basis. It is a nice addition to my conscious self care to take this 15 minute am break and bask in my light.
2) The craving for warmer destinations, the desperation for a vacation, that longing for the sun…. is non existent. Life is good and other than the scenery (and the temperature) life this winter is really no different than the spring or summer.
So that is what I wrote in January.
By February I was desperate for an emergency vacation to the sunshine so I did a five day jaunt to my happy place and spent sun up ‘til sun down by the pool.
And Thursday we head on a Caribbean cruise. Ahhhhh. The sunshine, sand and water are calling me. And I cannot wait!
The light works…. AND…. I was born to be in the sunshine.
This is good information to get clear about.
With spring just around the corner, the days are getting longer and things are starting to melt. Soon everything will be in bloom and we can all ease into the beauty of fresh green things and warm ourselves in the light. In the meantime be sure to get outside when the sun is shining, go to an indoor atrium to be around plants , get yourself a “go light” or if all else fails my dear friends…..
get your butt to the beach!
Hanging with Captain Stubing!
P.S. sing with me! “Love….exciting and new…. Come aboard… were expecting you…. it’s love!” I’m coming Julie!