By the time most of you get this issue in your cold little hands, we'll be smack dab in the middle of winter. And if you're like me, you'll be itching to see a little sunshine, get out to an event, stretch your legs, and shake off those winter blues. I don't know what it is about the winter-the chilly cold, the early sunsets, the long nights-but I just don't seem to get as much done around the shop as I do the rest of the year. Leaving the office well after sunset and coming home to a cold, dark shop pretty much wipes any bit of motivation I may have. I guess I'm one of those "fair weather" types who doesn't respond well to the crummy weather the holiday months bring.
But fear not, for doctors, or at least Wikipedia, has an explanation for the so-called "winter blues". Ladies and gentlemen, meet SAD or seasonal affective disorder. A rather witty name if I do say so myself! Also known as winter depression, SAD is a mood disorder in which people who have normal mental health throughout most of the year experience depressive symptoms in the winter.
Now I don't know about you, but to say that I have "normal mental health" throughout any part of the year, let alone worse so in the winter, is a bit of a stretch. But I digress.
Epidemiological studies estimate that its prevalence in the adult population of the U.S. ranges from 1.4 percent in Florida to 9.7 percent in New Hampshire. I take it that those epidemiolowhatevers know what they're talking about, but it would make sense that the majority of people in Florida are living the Aloha lifestyle while those under a blanket of snow half the year in the Northeast are wicked pissed.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine notes that some people experience a serious mood change that comes along with the seasonal changes causing them to sleep too much, have less energy, and feel depressed. The condition in the summer, surprisingly enough, is the opposite and can even include a level of heightened anxiety.
So, what can you do to prevent SAD? Well, those high-paid, know-it-all doctors have come up with just the thing: light therapy, antidepressants, and a supplementation of the hormone melatonin. In other words, to cure SAD, they recommend summer. Plenty of sunlight, rich in Vitamin D, and a lifestyle conducive to the outdoors seems to clear it right up.
And while that makes sense to me, don't you really think the reason most people tend to spend more time in bed and have a lack of energy in the winter is that it's just freakin' cold outside? I mean, bears sleep through the whole dang season, now that should tell you something! However, I have seen that bear who puts his head in the beehive and can't get it out as well, so maybe bears aren't that smart after all...oh well, I need a nap now.