“About 2 to 3% of Canadians will experience SAD in their lifetime. Another 15% will experience a milder form of SAD that leaves them only slightly depressed, but still able to live their life without major disruptions. People with seasonal affective disorder make up about 10% of all depression cases.”
Canadian Mental Health Association
“The cause (of SAD) is uncertain but front-runners include disturbances in melatonin (the hormone that controls our pattern of sleeping and waking) that upset the circadian rhythm and levels of the “feel good” hormone serotonin when there are fewer hours of daylight.”
The Guardian, Lifestyle section
Wake up to the darkness of the morning; come back home from work and it is dark. If you are lucky to have a sunny day especially in Vancouver then is like hitting the jackpot. Hundreds of people saturate the sidewalks trying to absorb just a little daylight when it comes.
As the days pass by it becomes harder and harder to come out of bed and outside your home. It also can take a lot of will power to stay active especially on rainy days.
It has taken me more that 5 years to adjust to the winter blues. I can’t claim that I have it figured out but there are some steps that seem to help to boost the energy when I seem to be living in a Vampire world.
We all have heard that there are some things that can help you prepare this world.
- Stay active, walk, exercise, practice yoga, dance
- Stay connected to people, friends and family
- Use daily light box therapy.
- Practice balanced thinking techniques, or daily meditation techniques. Sessions 3 times a day, 20 minutes each effectively helps you to cope with negative thinking.
- Although direct sun is the best alternative, Vitamin D can work as an alternative when lacking the sunny days
Being spiritual doesn’t mean that I am immune to the affects the weather can cause to my body. It brings some kind of relief knowing that SAD is really common in the north but that with good care and habits it can be controlled.
Having family, friends and meditation community support have helped me to enjoy the winter. The routine of practicing meditation and yoga on a daily basis helps coping with work stress and clears the nervous system. The mind is not as cluttered with negative thoughts and a permanent sense of appreciation for life remains.