That December Melancholy has set in.
It’s an old familiar feeling that happens every year at this time, and as I get older it gets more prevalent. I’m pondering why this is. I posted to my support group member’s and the resulting cry was yes, many group members feel that same depression at this time of year. Why does this happen to so many of us and why does it get worse as the years go by?
SAD: A recurring depression marked by the onset from mid autumn until mid winter. Although it is more prominent in females, 10’s of millions of people of all genders and ethnicity’s are effected by it each year.
It wasn’t always like this.
Although I now associate this sadness with Christmas, it wasn’t always like that. My childhood was filled with the legendary Christmases that Normand Rockwell wrote about. With snow up to our waist, we set upon making snow forts and built one fort on each side of the driveway. Snow wars were a serious business that started the day that school let out and wouldn’t be over until way after Christmas holidays were done. Sled’s and skates were great well used Christmas gifts.
The holidays rocked and I worked hard to recreate those Norman Rockwell days when my kids were small. I hope, (I think) my husband and I did a good job of it but those days are over now and that feeling is gone and I can’t get it back again.
Is this Normal?
Perhaps this is normal to be feeling this way after life has changed so much. It is not realistic to think that this Christmas thing doesn’t have to change. It can’t possibly be like it was when we were children or when we had little feet running around. It does leave a sense of loss for those days but then you have to also look at what you have now.
Maybe SAD is the reason why we celebrate Christmas when we do. Maybe it’s what help’s us to get through the winter solstice.
There is a great deal written online about SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) and our winter solstice and the sad winter blues. There has been much talk about the Circadian Rhythm, as it controls your bodies natural sleep and wakeful cycles over a 24 hour period. When this natural rhythm is interfered with, as in less light in a day, painful nights or inability to stay asleep, we are more likely to develop sleep disorders that lead to suppressed melatonin production. Many of us take a melatonin tablet to increase our ability to sleep, so reducing natural melatonin should be easy to understand. It’s like someone taking away your sleeping meds, and not giving then back to you for about 3 months!
This suppression of melatonin makes it hard to get the sleep we need and leading to an interruption of our sleep pattern, leading to all kinds of problems in mental and physical health.
I am determined to surpass this melancholy by following these steps.
- Go to bed around the same time every night even if you have to create a routine.
- Set your alarm and force yourself to respond and wake up at the same time every morning.
- Get out in the morning and exercise if you can.
- Morning exposure to light is best. Between 6 am and 9 am has the best anti depressive effect.
- Take a vitamin D supplement every day.
- If you can’t get out in the morning, consider investing in a SAD light.
- Stick to an approved exercise routine.
- Eat more fruits, vegetables and lean meats, eliminating most sugars and empty calories.