Combatting Seasonal Affective Disorder

I love summer and all of the festivities that i associate with it. The sun rises before i wake, and it stays in the sky until i’m just about ready to call it a night. I enjoy feeling the summer sun on my skin and feel encouraged to be more active. Probably for these reasons, i’ve absolutely DREADED the end of summer/coming of fall ever since i can remember.

Every year (around late August-early September) i feel like i have to brace myself for the decreased sunlight and cooler temperatures. This year,  October hadn’t even arrived when i began feeling sluggish, sad, distracted, and grouchy. I knew there was a serious problem one day when i didn’t want to make any tasty food and felt completely ambivalent about DJing a great event.

When i realized what was happening, i decided to take immediate action! I can confidently say that these things have helped me out a little.

I enjoy exercising, especially riding my bike and running. During the fall (before it gets too cold) i try to get some running miles in or take a non-transportation related bike ride for at least 20 or 30 minutes later in the afternoon when the sun seems to be the most radiant. I highly recommend making use of any local nature trails or high school and college exercise facilities that are open to the public. Just getting to these spaces like the nature trails may soon become motivating, simply because they can be so pretty and peaceful. Walks are also very nice, especially when in the company of a friend or loved one. In fact, i spotted the little fella above when taking a stroll through my neighborhood. It made my day!

I love telling my friends about how my mother used to hate coffee, and how even the smell of it disgusted her. But when she became pregnant with me, she began to drink it regularly (decaf, of course). Although, i credit myself with giving her the gift of enjoying a great cup of joe, that does have a downside. I came out the womb addicted to coffee! However, i’ve learned that coffee — specifically the caffeine that makes it even more irresistible to me — is like any other drug in that i typically crash after my high. The crash is much more painful when i’m already down. Although i’m not 100% caffeine free, whenever i go a few days without it i feel as though my inborn vitality begins returning to me. I’m able to get that energy buzz from other things i enjoy in life, such as a cup of fresh juice or a green smoothie.

Spaghetti Squash Dish

Spaghetti Squash. One delicious treat that makes Autumn such a lovely season.

I don’t have many regrets so far. But one thing i wish i had done different earlier in life was consume more pumpkin! I remember carving out jack-o-laterns as child and throwing away all of the seeds and fruit! S.M.H. Now, i’m not so into making faces out of the pumpkin; but, i’ll devour one in a heartbeat! Pumpkin pancakes, decaf pumpkin chai tea, egusi soup, roasted pumpkin seed with a touch of salt… i could go on. And that’s just ONE fall food. There are several other fruits and veggies that flourish during the late summer and fall. Explore them and appreciate what mama nature provides to help us deal with the reduced sunlight and cooler weather. (Also important and related to fall foods are trying to eat an overall healthy diet life-it and doing seasonal cleanses.)

Although i dislike cooler weather, it does have at least two benefits. The first is that when i wanna be snuggled up with Ms. Cupcake Queen, i don’t have to worry about either of us getting too hot. In fact, because it’s cooler there is more of a incentive for us to get closer!

The 2nd benefit of the cooler weather is wearing more clothes. I’m not too into fashion, but when i put on a sweater that i’m really digging i feel like a million bucks! Less heat means more layering, which allows for nice combinations of jackets, hats, pants, and even socks. When it’s hot outside, my favorite outfit is that with the least amount of material (i.e. flip flops, tank tops, and shorts). Fall allows me to re-invent my look every day using a variety of fresh combinations from the clothing i already own.

So there it is. This is how i self-medicating during the season change. It is also useful to many people to invest in special light bulbs and to consume teas or herbal extracts like St. John’s Wort (sounds bad, but it’s really quite good). These allow me, and others, to avoid experimental medications from the daytime tv ads. The goal is to get more in line with mama nature’s natural transitions.

– Much Love


2 thoughts on “Combatting Seasonal Affective Disorder

  1. Art Bouchie

    With the arrival of the cold season, besides cold-driven nuisance, some persons experience drawbacks regarding the general state, lack of energy and depression of unknown origin. It was scientifically ascertained that the lack of light favors the production of melatonin by the pineal gland, a hormone inducing sleep. That is why, during the cold seasons when days are shorter and the sunlight is scarce, we often feel sleepy or drowsy. Also, even during spring and summer, if the tendency is to keep most of the time indoors at home or at the office, the effect may be similar, though not as severe…

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