Wednesday, November 30, 2016

November and Seasonal Affective Disorder

November is wearing me down.  It is my least favourite month of the year because of the short grey days.  Each day is imperceptibly shorter than the one before until the cumulative affect suddenly catches up to me.  It wouldn’t be so bad if it was sunny out, but November tends to be cloudy and dreary.  Even in summer I lack energy on cloudy days, so now I am really getting low on energy.  No matter how much sleep I get or how much coffee I drink, that grey fog of tiredness never leaves my head.
Thankfully, I am still able to function.  I am doing way better than last November.  I am working 25-30 hours a week and still managing to get things done at home.  It helps that my husband is in school right now so he is home more than he was when he was working full time.  Between him being home more and me being home less, the dark days aren’t long and lonely this November.
December is just around the corner.  December means pretty coloured lights, cheerful parties and get-togethers, extra church services, candy canes, and hot chocolate.  Even though it is probably the darkest month of the year, I prefer December over November because of all the Christmas events.  Whatever your theological or philosophical views about Christmas, I am thankful for it because it is like the light at the end of the tunnel for me.  It’s like a reward at the end of the shortening of the days, and after Christmas the days start getting longer again.
So what am I doing to cope?  Since I’ve been aware of this pattern of low energy in winter for about three years now, I have perspective on it.  I know that in a couple of months, my energy will start to pick up again, the Lord willing.  I’m kind of settling into hibernation mode, conserving my energy for things that need to be done, like working, housework, going to church, etc.  I’m not bothering to read deep books, research interesting topics, or tackle jobs like decluttering or deep cleaning.  In past years I have felt guilt for this and was afraid there was no point to life.  It felt like the greyness would last forever.  The perspective I’ve gained from going through this cycle multiple times is allowing me to cut myself some slack. Thankfully. 

As my sister pointed out the other day, it is now less than a month until the shortest day of the year.  We can do this. 

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