Wintertime. Colder weather, beautiful snow falling from the sky, sweaters, hot chocolate, peppermint mochas, fuzzy socks, snuggling by the fireplace (whether real or Netflix version), snowmen, cute beanies, and scarfs. Plaid. Lots and lots of plaid.
This would be what most people tend to think of winter. This is only the reality, however, if you are in a Hallmark movie. Otherwise, in my opinion, winter is really just a cold bucket of suck. (Anyone else with me here?) Snow can be pretty, don’t get me wrong, I just am not a fan of winter. Or at least not a fan of the cold. If I lived somewhere further south where “winter” weather is like lows in the 40’s, I could definitely live with that. Now, I’ve grown up in Iowa and it’s the only state I’ve ever lived in. However, I still dislike winter. I might be used to it, but I still don’t like it. Winter is my least favorite season by far, especially living in Iowa where the winters can go from one extreme to another in a matter of hours.
Now, if you’re still with me, either you want to see where my dislike of winter came from or you are right there with me on this topic. Regardless, stick around, and I’ll give you three reasons why I dislike winter:
- Stuck inside a lot more.
- Sun isn’t out as much.
- Seasonal affective disorder.
And, just because I can, I’ll tack on the obvious that it’s freakin’ cold and I hate being cold!!!
I also hate being too hot, though…probably why fall is my favorite season!
But I digress…
Now the first two reasons for my dislike of winter explain my third reason for not liking winter. Being stuck in the house more and less sunshine are two reasons that depression tends to set in, and when this happens predominantly in the winter it is referred to as “seasonal affective disorder” (SAD).
Now, while I have not been formally diagnosed with SAD, I have been clinically diagnosed with depression. So I feel the effects of depression all year round, but the winter seems to really exacerbate the problem. This is just something I have to deal with and so do an estimated 10 million other people in America, according to an article from PsychologyToday.com.* It is four times more common in women than men, as well, and often called the “winter blues”.
I must mention that it is also possible to be affected by SAD in the summer months, although much less common.
There are many different symptoms to SAD, which you are welcome to research for yourself, but the ones I struggle with are: feeling “down” for no reason, feelings of hopelessness, fatigue, drop in energy level, difficulty concentrating, and avoiding social situations.
Coping with depression through the winter months is difficult. Being outdoors in nature with my husband and kids is one of my biggest coping skills; it’s where I feel most at peace. This is harder to do in the winter, though. I do try to get out of the house when possible, even if it’s just taking the kids to school/picking them up. Listening to music, writing, reading, anything that can help distract my brain. Cleaning/organizing is also a great way to stay busy. Some days depression can get in the way of cleaning, though. You have to listen to your body and do what’s best for you and your mental health. Take it one day at a time and give yourself some grace. Winter won’t last forever (even though it can feel like it will never end).
Do you suffer from SAD? What symptoms do you experience? What do you do to cope during the winter months? Comment below or message me privately!
Can you relate to this but have never heard of SAD before? I hope this can help bring some clarity to what you’ve been experiencing. You’re not alone. If you need help, please ask for it. Asking for help is NOT a sign of weakness, it is a sign of strength and courage. It’s hard to ask for help, I know, but it is so worth it.
Take care & stay strong,
If you are having feelings of hopelessness, sadness, and/or suicidal thoughts, please reach out to a loved one or contact the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 by call or text or click the link below.
Psychology Today, “Seasonal Affective Disorder”. 2019, February 07. <https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder>