Day 191. Longer Days

Have you noticed?  I only really noticed it on the weekend.  The days are getting longer.  Thankfully!  I’m one of those people who need daylight.  The more, the daylightmerrier.

While channel surfing last week, some time, I saw Goldie Hawn being interviewed.  She was saying when she lived in Vancouver, because her son was playing hockey there, she couldn’t handle the lack of sunshine.  It is a gloriously beautiful city, but winters can be kind of dreary.  Lots of grey skies and rain.  Anyway, she said she was depressed all the time; and finally figured out what was wrong.

She was suffering from seasonal affective disorder (SAD).  In other words, lack of sunlight.  No, it’s not a bunch of hooey.  It was first identified around 1845, but wasn’t officially classified until 1984, when psychiatrist Norman E. Rosenthal started studying cases of depression that seemed to occur only in winter.  He observed thousands of people with the same symptoms; and, ultimately, wrote an article for The Washington Post.

Obviously it’s prevalent in winter because the days are shorter, the weather is colder and we’re indoors for longer periods of time.  So
we hardly ever see the sun.  It also affects those who work nights (and, therefore, sleep days) and those who travel a lot.  Their body rhythms are constantly being thrown out of whack.

Unfortunately there’s no pill we can take.  Although some people, including Goldie Hawn, believe light therapy helps.  She went so far as to buy a special light box, which she says, did the trick.

Luckily I don’t get depressed.  But I do get lethargic.  I do see a marked decrease in my energy level.  I do notice I’m not as motivated to go out or start new projects or even complete the ones I’ve already started, in winter.

Instead, I’m perfectly happy to stay home.  To curl up on the couch with a book.  To cuddle with my cats.  To watch movies on TV.  To listen to music, not that I have the energy to get up and dance around my living room.  To nap.  To go to bed earlier.  To sleep in later, in the morning.  To lounge around in comfy, old sweats.

I hibernate.  Like a bear, in a cave.  So I’m thinking I could have a mild case of SAD.  No sadness, in my case.  No depression.  But certainly many of the other symptoms.

But, like I said, last weekend I noticed a difference.  Suddenly, too.  Or so it seemed.  Coming out of the grocery store at almost 5:30 I realized the sun was shining!  It was bright outside.  Last time I looked it was getting dark at 4:00.  I guess I have been asleep for a while.  So, needless to say, I started paying more attention.  Next day I looked outside when I got up at the crack of dawn, to write my blog.

Usually it’s pitch black when I drag myself out of bed.  This time the sky was was already turning a darkish blue.  I could see buildings, clearly.  And trees.  And roof tops. By 7:00 it was almost light.  It’s now almost 7:15, and it’s bright.  No need for me to have lights on, while I write this.

Happy, happy days!

Already I feel a difference, personally.  It’s getting easier to get up early.  I’m fully awake more quickly.   I’m loving waking up to light.  And I know it’s going to get better, with every passing day.  No, it is NOT psychological.  No, it is NOT the power of suggestion.  It is for real.  Ask Goldie Hawn.  Or Dr. Rosenthal.  They’ll tell you I’m not crazy.  They’ll tell you I’m not making all this up.  They’ll tell you there’s a scientific reason for everything I’m feeling.  Everything I’m saying.

Let there be light.  And plenty of it!

12 thoughts on “Day 191. Longer Days

  1. I think Shakespeare may have been writing of February in Minnesota when he wrote “Now is the winter of our discontent.” Glad the days are getting longer though. Just to cheer me up, I’ve started planning my spring garden, pouring through seed catalogs and drawing up a plan. That always helps!

    • Good for you. Living in an apartment, I don’t garden. But I live vicariously through other people’s. Spring is one of my favourite seasons, I must say. I just love watching trees and grass and gardens come back to life. It renews my own energy.

  2. Me and the sun rarely see eye to eye since I am one of those night workers, and it’s been that way for the last 15 years. Depression has never been a problem for me, but I am usually pretty lethargic, so maybe it affects me there. Of course, the only SAD I care about is Squirrel Appreciation Day… 😉

  3. Fransi – this is so funny, I just noticed last night. I went to my weekly painting class and for the first time, I left my house in daylight. Then this morning, I left my house in daylight. One day it was dark, then next it was light. Go figure.

  4. I love the sun. I just visited the dermatologist today because that adoration of mine has been very bad for my skin. But like you, the more light hours during the day, the better I feel. I can’t help it.

    My sister-n-law who lives in AK swears by those “special” lights you mentioned. She and her husband were fighting over using their one, so they bought another because it was giving them crazy energy. She said they were buzzing around literally.

    –Looking forward to Spring.

    Happy Valentine’s Day!

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