Coping for the Seasonally Affected
It just so happens to be an incredibly gloomy day today. And a Monday. The 1970s music group “The Carpenters” weren’t kidding.
Looking out the window the sky is a dirty white, there is no bright yellow sun poking through the clouds, and it is just dark enough to roll over and fall back asleep.
Starting in my early teens, the weather has consistently had a massive impact on me. It will take my low lower, my high higher. It can even make my high low, and vice versa. The sun, I have often said, can be all I need on some days. A part of me may just worship that sun.
It seems that those days when the sky is overcast, the blanket of white clouds is just sucking the energy and life from me. I struggle to get things done. That’s when I’m being positive. When it’s bad, I am entirely useless.
For years, I lived on an island in Canada up in the northwest. Maybe one of the most beautiful places in the world. During the spring and summer, it was a paradise.
But from October to March, it was my own personal hell. Rain, constantly. Overcast, daily. My depressions were magnified tenfold. I was ugly in those winters. When every day looks like this? You feel it in every bone. Your body is heavier, and your mind is too.
I am glad to be off that beautiful island. I am healthier away from it. Now in the Midwest U.S., the sun is more prevalent. But like anywhere, there are still these glum days. And it will take me a couple more hours to convince myself to get dressed. I may get little to nothing accomplished.
Today is one of those days. I will work hard to psych myself up, to mentally overcome it. But, wow, it’s a feat.
5 ways to make your best effort on the Days of Gloom and Doom
- Allow yourself to linger and relax in the morning. Drink your coffee slowly. Read the news. Allow yourself to enjoy some morning peace. Don’t rush around. Maybe take a bath.Think of the day as your ‘day off ‘– even if it’s not — and reduce your expectations for what you must or should do. Then, turn on all the lights in the house. The darkness sure won’t help you.
- Make a list of what you need to do. Allow yourself to accept what you think you can actually do. Then, hold yourself accountable for it. Today, maybe it’s the bare minimum. Take care of your kids. Write. Take a walk or do some other physical activity. Make a nice family dinner.
- Move. Take a half hour with positive music, get on the floor and stretch. Go for a walk. If you have a sunlamp, turn it on full blast.
- Force yourself into human interaction. Talk to someone. Call a friend. Get coffee. Go out somewhere. Don’t bask in silence all day.
- Have something to look forward to. Be it later today or later this week, have something to push yourself through the day if you are struggling. For me, it’s very simple. My husband and I will do a movie night and rent a movie and relax with our son once he’s home from work. Might seem lame, but man, I can’t wait! It’s the simple things, right?
Adamson, J. (2018). Coping for the Seasonally Affected. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 4, 2020, from https://psychcentral.com/blog/coping-for-the-seasonally-affected/