IIt’s November. Yes, it is. And it’s dreary out. This is the month when it may or may not start to get super cold. This is the month when the sun disappears. This is the month when you need to start planning your SAD survival tactics.
SAD is seasonal affectation disorder and I think most people suffer from it from one extent to another. Every year I’ve lived in Ukraine, it seems to bother me more and more. By Feb/March I would be craving chocolate, broccoli, spinach, and red meat. Potatoes, a staple of Ukraine, seemed like the worse thing to eat. I would get an energy rush then crash. You feel sluggish, run down and depressed. You think something is seriously wrong and then suddenly a strong, sunny day appears, you go outside for a walk and BING! You feel fabulous again and the world is a wonderful place to be in.
I use a sun lamp daily at times. I take vitamin D year round as well as a host of other vitamins. I exercise whether I feel like it or not. I always make myself take a walk if the sun comes out, no matter how cold it is. I try to get up with the sun to get the most sunlight. Of course this doesn’t matter in December and January when the sun comes up at like 8:30am and goes down at around 3:30 – 4pm. I ignore depressive thoughts. If I suddenly need to pig out on McDonald’s, so be it. But I basically try to stay away from junk food. I try to not let the weather limit my desire to get out. I put my Christmas tree lights up in my flat after I take my tree down. I try to eat super healthy and stay away from sugar and potatoes.
One thing I really like about living in this part of the world is that Ukrainians never let bad weather get them down or slow down their lives. This can actually be really hard when you grew up in a sunny climate. When I first moved here, It always felt I needed about five times the amount of energy to do things as everyone else in the winter. I am more used to it now. I think that the only time Kyiv ever shut down because of bad weather was when we had the 40 million tons of snow fall over a couple of days.
It’s 39F this morning and dreary with no sun. Winter is here.
Do you live where it’s cold and dark half the year? What do you do to help with SAD?