it’s that time of year

by Joanna on October 1, 2012

It’s that time of year again.

Seasonal affective disorder is in full swing for me.

A lot of people think it’s a winter or cold thing but for me, it’s actually more about the amount of light there is in a day.  It first hit me right after Labor Day.  When it stays dark out longer in the morning, that’s when I get into trouble.

Here’s how it shows up for me:

  • I feel like a zombie. I’m really really tired. Even though I sleep 8 hours a night.
  • I don’t want to do anything. I don’t want to write, I don’t want to read.  Sometimes I don’t even want to watch my favorite TV shows.
  • Mornings are rough. I don’t want to get out of bed. I got back in bed one morning last week until 8. And when I do get out of bed I have to talk myself through the whole morning: just get in the shower, just get on the bus.  I’ve actually bought lunch and snacks a lot recently because my resolve is seriously down.
  • I don’t really want to eat anything. This is very strange for me.  I’m always thinking about my next meal.

Here’s how I’m working to combat this, starting today:

  • Sit in front of my “happy light” each morning (I bought this on Amazon last year and it makes a world of difference)
  • No unnecessary weekends of visitors or travel, maybe until spring
  • Go to the gym 3 times a week. I’m going to text my mom each morning before I go to hold me accountable. This works like a charm.  I was chatting with her on Wednesday last week and asked if I could text her before I go.  And sure enough, I made it to the gym Thursday morning.
  • Pack lunch the night before.  Since I barely have an appetite, it’s difficult for me to be motivated to pack my lunch in the morning.  It then becomes another thing I have to talk myself through in the morning just make a sandwich, just pack some grapes. But it’s really important that I’m eating nutritious food  this time of year because what I eat really impacts my energy levels and I need to choose things that help me, not make me sleepier than I already am.
  • Two walks during the work day.  Taking a walk around the block around 10:30 and 3 just to get some air and some light really helps pick me back up.

This year hasn’t been nearly as bad as past years.  Being on anxiety medicine takes that out of the equation and I just have to combat the SAD and not the combination of the two.  They really fuel each other so I’m so glad that my anxiety is under control.

But still, it’s really difficult.  I want to be my bouncy self, energetic and moving things along. I have so many ideas and no motivation to do anything with them.

I’m trying not to fight it, to give my body what it needs.  If that means an extra half hour of sleep in the morning, or two naps on Sundays, or a 20-minute nap when I get home from work so be it.  This is just something that I have to deal with this time of year and I can either accept it and relax into it or try to actively fight against it.  While I will work to decrease the symptoms and make myself feel better, I won’t beat myself up when I don’t feel 100%.

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