Motherhood, Art, Creative Play, and Finding Joy in Everyday Life

SAD Time


ahhhh-now-i-get-to-be-dead-inside-for-6-monthsImage credit:

The above cartoon may say “November”, but had I drawn it, it would say “October”. I live in Maine where October kicks off the colder temperatures and the increasingly earlier sunsets. I have suffered for as long as I can remember with Seasonal Affective Disorder. This is a difficult problem to handle in a northern state. Thankfully, we have had a fairly mild and warm Autumn so far (*knock on wood*), which has helped a lot. However, the lack of motivation has begun really settling in for me the past couple of weeks.

On the days when Simon and I have to get up early so that I can get him off to preschool and then go to work, I am able to fake my way through it. I have the responsibility of being places on time forcing me to get up and go. Usually though, I will experience a crippling energy dip in the afternoon, after I pick him up and we return home. That is usually when I find myself reaching for more coffee.

On other days, when there is nothing filling the calendar in the morning, I shuffle my way downstairs, fix Simon his breakfast and myself a cup of my beloved coffee, and then we snuggle on the couch under a blanket for far longer than I want us to. I want to be seizing the day, but instead I am fighting the urge to hibernate.

It is not so simple as just snapping myself out of it. I have been trying for years. But I have found things that help.

For example, using a “SAD Light”.

I borrowed one a while back from a fellow SAD sufferer. When I woke in the morning I would turn it on and sit in front of it while I ate my breakfast. It felt soooo good. She eventually needed her light back, but I spoke with my doctor and found out that I can get one with a prescription and insurance will possibly pay for some of the cost. I am going to be filling this prescription ASAP. Jeramy had the fantastic idea of setting it up on my nightstand with a timer, so it will turn itself on in the morning when I need to get up. I just might do that!

Another thing that helps me immensely is cracking down on my healthy habits. It is so hard this time of year, when temperatures get cold, and all I want to do is curl up and eat baked goods all day long. Baked goods are fine, I am not one of those people who rules carbs or grains out, however, they need to not be the main component of a person’s diet. When I focus more on eating loads of veggies and fruits, I always feel better and it helps so much through the winter. Taking a daily multivitamin fills in any gaps for me and gives me more energy too.

I have found that if I take my shower at night, so that all I have to do in the morning is throw on clothes and put my hair in a bun, I am much more likely to get outside sooner. And the sooner I get outside, the more quickly I feel better. Mornings are such a struggle that simply showering can feel like an insurmountable obstacle.

It sounds counter-intuitive, but cutting back on my caffeine helps a lot too because I shed my dependence on it for energy. When I quit caffeine a while back, I felt so much better. I am now back up to a minimum of two cups a day, and I recognize that I need to start cutting back again. I really love coffee, but I can always drink decaf.

Finally, and this is the hardest one for me: moving more. Forcing myself to get some exercise in is so good for my body and my motivation levels. Feeling healthy makes getting up in the morning so much easier. I love yoga and walking/hiking. I need to make them happen.

I would love to hear from you if you are a fellow SAD sufferer. What works for you?


Author: thismummaslife

I am a Mumma, Wife and part-time Assistant Children's Librarian. I want this blog to be a collection of moments from daily life that may inspire or be relatable. Please feel free to leave me comments, thoughts, feedback or stories from your own life.

4 thoughts on “SAD Time

  1. I have the same issue and I think it is the anticipation of the dreaded winter season.
    Cold mornings, shoveling snow, less daylight, cold and flu season and the inability to get out and enjoy the outdoors are some of the psychological and physical aspects of the season. I find that reinventing the wheel so to speak can help. Having indoor projects and scheduling some fun family activities can help even if it is something as simple as a family movie night. With the new house, scheduling projects should be easy for you. The hard part will be finding the motivation to keep going and to gradually watch the days get longer after January. I now look at Winter in sections with the season leading up to the Christmas and new year holidays as not so bad as there are activities built in. It’s really the period between January and March where the season is most difficult to manage.
    That’s 12 weeks in my mind and I try to think about what lies ahead and still manage to
    find things to do that can refocus my energy. Drumming, spending time with family,
    home improvements and watching sporting events help me. It is still hard to get up in the morning and deal with the weather but each time the driveway is cleared and the roads get better comes a new opportunity to get back out and enjoy the beautiful scenery in Maine.
    I do not want to wish my life away and live for the warmer months or weekends. Time does seem to go by faster as we get older and I think it is important to find new ways to stimulate
    ourselves with new adventures irrespective of the Winter. Hang in there girl and try to look at each day as a new adventure knowing that not all adventures turn out great. it’s the one’s that do that makes life special!

    • This is excellent advice and thankfully there are Holidays at intervals to look forward to. Right now Simon is so excited about Halloween, and then there will be Thanksgiving, then Christmas, then my birthday…

      Winter in a new house with a big yard to play in will certainly be a new adventure.

  2. Krista, Thank you so much for being strong enough to share your struggles. I suffer from depression that seems to worsen in the fall / winter, too.
    I have looked into getting an alarm clock that is actually a SAD light that gradually comes on and is full brightness when the “alarm” is supposed to go off.
    It’s on my Christmas list!

    Hope you find what works for you! Know you aren’t alone! We are all here to support you.

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