Saturday, December 15, 2007

"Tis' the Season to be Jolly..."

It is interesting for me to look at the palm trees and watch people dripping with sweat putting up Christmas lights on a sunny afternoon... I'm living in Florida where the temperature has been between the 70's and 80's (warmer than usual), this time of the year, and I'm still feeling S.A.D. For those of you who are not familiar with this abbreviation, it stands for "Seasonal Affective Disorder". So how does one know she has S.A.D.?

Here are some of the symptoms:

(a) Feeling sluggish
(b) Sleeping more and still feel like your not getting enough sleep
(c) Eating more, especially comfort foods such as carbohydrates
(d) Feeling less motivated.

If you observe the above symptoms, during the same season for more than two years, then you too might be in the same state as me (but colder for you Northerners)...

My grandmother and her sister also had symptoms of S.A.D. as well. I do not understand why this is happening because life right now is really good! I live in warm weather, I am happily (recently) married, I am not under financial stress, I have a good job, and I have fun loving family around me (along with my dog Riley and husband Uday who always make me laugh and keep me busy).

I just do not get it! As a therapist, I should not be advertising this! Worst of all, I recently read an article about how it is more rare to have S.A.D in Florida than other places. "A less common version of S.A.D can occur in the summer, but S.A.D usually strikes in the winter months and in colder climates. In fact, you're about seven times more likely to suffer from S.A.D if you live in New Hampshire than if you live in Florida" (girlpower.gov).



You're also more likely to suffer from S.A.D if you're female and over the age of 20, although S.A.D is sometimes seen in kids and adolescents" (girlpower.gov). This is one of the main reason why myself and so many other people move to Florida!


This idea has got me thinking... "how did I get through this when I lived up North"? "How are you Northerners doing it now"? And most importantly, I must really be spoiled to feel Season Affective Disorder in sunny, warm Florida! I worked so hard dieting and learning to eat healthy and now it feels like I can not get through the day without rewarding myself with junk food. If one was observing me I would look like a ground squirrel getting ready for hibernation. Then this got me thinking... do animals that hibernate in cold climates hibernate in warm climates as well? I did some research and found out that some animals do hibernate in warm climates when it gets a little colder, but not for long! Technically, it would not be called hibernation, but just longer periods of rest. Ironically, in nature, animals tend to hibernate due to lack of food more than temperature, but I want to hibernate more due to lack of sunlight and evidently during times of abundance of food. I hope my hibernation period is short like those of the bears in Florida!



Interestingly enough, my birthday (December 21st) happens to be on the shortest sunlight day of the year (which is also called "Winter Equinox", "Winter Solstice" or "the first day of winter"). This means that on this day, we have less sunlight than any other day of the year. After Dec 21st, it begins to stay lighter a little more each day until "Summer Equinox" (which usually begins around June 21st, when again each day begins to get darker a little earlier). I never thought of this before, but most often I do not have a good day on my birthday. I used to call it "bad luck" or "high expectations" but as I am writing this I can't help but wonder if having a bad day on the shortest day of sunlight in the year is a coincidence at all (especially for someone who has symptoms of S.A.D)!

I must say that my symptoms of S.A.D have been much better since moving to Florida, and I don't remember having any symptoms since I moved here until this year. Even though it has been very warm so far this winter, I have not been going out as much since I have been busy writing this "blogspot", doing more on the computer and inside and less outdoors.

The best treatment for S.A.D, no matter where one lives, is to get out more, exercise, and go on winter vacations to more sunny places (or move to those places like me :-) Many people also find help by seeking psychotherapy, medication, and light therapy.

It is different getting used to the Christmas season in Florida, but I love the exotic look as it has it's own unique beauty! I plan to get out more in the next coming weekends to work on getting into this festive season.

"The Sunshine State" along with the Holiday Season does light up my life when I take the time to appreciate it!


Cheers to you and your family!
Happy Holidays!!! (Fa La LA LA LA, la,la, la, LA)


1 comment:

Dora said...

Let's see i belive i suffer from S.A.D but as in "Sunday Affective Disorder" My God i was just talking to my mom about this, Some how every Sunday i get kind of depress, Is just a very slow, boring day for me, Especially in the winter where there is nothingggg to do. Not to add to that, the fact that my hubby works all day on Sundays. Is the day where everyone is at home with there family's so is not like a good day to call people, visit people or plan anything with people. Because for people that work from Monday to Friday this is there day to relax. Seems I'm a stay at home mom. This is actually day the day i don't have anything to do at home, as i do all my chores during the week. But any how i was wondering if this was a things that was happening to me in my older years until i ask my mother, What was the deal with this to what she answer, "My dear you been that way your entire life" lol i though this was so funny. she told me as a child they would try to take me to the beach, movies any where on Sundays and i will always be sad or mad that day and reply "No, I don't want to go no where is to late already" I just really notice that's one of the answer i always give my hubby when I'm bore he ask what you want to do let's go somewhere and i be no is just too late and is like 3pm. I guess is because I'm a plan freak and i like to know in advance what I'm doing I'm jut not a last minute girl. But any how, I'm trying to look for a hobby or something to do on Sundays so i can change this. Is just so hard to find an activity where you can include your kids. Well i guess with the new one on the way i will be more busy so there goes my new hobby! lol