• Nadya Dich

Time to hibernate?

Winter is approaching, daylight saving time is over on Sunday. With days getting shorter and darker, many people (myself included) will experience that their body and mind slow down. For some, it means that it becomes harder to wake up. Others find that they are feeling too tired to exercise. Yet another group of people will experience low mood more often, with full-blown depression being the extreme case. Some of these seasonal changes fall under the definition of seasonal affective disorder (SAD).


SAD, a condition listed in psychiatric manuals, is diagnosed based on the fact that you have normal mental health throughout most of the year, but experience an increase in depressive symptoms during a certain season, most commonly in the winter months. Symptoms include oversleeping, overeating, and low energy.


"Disorder" means a problem that requires a solution, a pathology. But I believe, SAD is one example where the border between the norm and pathology is extremely blurry. From evolutionary and nature's point of view, winter is the time to conserve energy, to be slow, to sleep. From that perspective, our bodies and minds kind of do what they are supposed to. And because sunlight gives us energy, it also makes sense that we feel more tired during winter months. So to me, the question is, is it a pathology or an adjustment? And accordingly, should we treat it and continue running around living our busy lives? Or should we embrace it as a seasonal variation of the norm and as a chance to take things slow? Maybe even make use of the dreadful weather (Hey, finally you don't have to have bad consciousness about staying home all Saturday watching Netflix!)


What can we do to feel a bit less lethargic and what can we do to make the lethargic state more acceptable?


My personal fall and winter survival list includes: - Merino wool socks and shirts - Hot apple cider - Dinner parties - Candles - Cookies (working on striking that one out of my list, not successful so far) - Very slow music - DIY and writing projects - Indian food - Long walks - Books - Sweatpants - Long phone conversations


What's on your list?

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