The sky has been grey for far too many days now. The sun is going down as you're leaving work. It's officially the most brutal time of year and we are all feeling it.
TL;DR Here are some of the common symtoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which is hitting Canadians hard after daylight savings time.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is real, and it manifests in the body as much as in the mind. November just wouldn't be November without the waves of anxiety and dread that comes from feeling constantly sluggish and unmotivated.
What you're feeling is a product of the serious lack of sunlight that characterizes the Canadian cold season. The good news is, this feeling is temporary and will pass. There are also many things you can do to keep the worse symptoms of SAD at bay, like eating well and exercising daily. Even a 15-minute walk helps!
In the end, just know that you're not alone. Everyone is in the same boat and we are all experiencing the natural side-effects of reduced sunlight.
1. You're craving and bingeing on carbs 24/7
Ever notice that when you're lacking sleep, your desire for carbs peaks. This is entirely normal even if it's the summer, but even more so during the month of November, when our natural mood dips below average, prompting us to fuel up on sugary, simple carbs. Try your best to disregard this knee-jerk response to lack of sun and instead opt for fiber-rich and colourful foods. Your body will thank you in the long run.
2. Your body literally feels like a brick
Depression may be a mental illness, but its symptoms are highly physical. Afterall, the mind and body are two sides of the same coin. As a result, people who suffer from SAD will often feel extremely heavy, especially in their limbs. As difficult as it is, you have to drag yourself outside and be active to boost those natural antidepressants. Even one brisk 15-minute walk a day can make all the difference.
3. You're fighting with your SO more than usual
Constant confrontation is going to make you feel crappy. Obviously. SAD might make us feel less social and interested in the things that used to make us happy, like spending time with our loved ones. This can put a strain on relationships for obvious reasons. So, if you're fighting with your main squeeze more than normal, don't fret. This is likely just a symptom of the season and it will pass with time.
4. Your sleep pattern is totally thrown off
Daylight savings time and the sudden lack of sunlight totally throws off our inner clocks. You're not alone! All this internal confusion has a huge impact on the quantity and quality of your sleep, which will, in turn, naturally make you feel like crap for awhile until your body navigates back to baseline. Make sure to stick to a routine sleep schedule, which will help take you back to restful nights.
5. Motivation...what motivation?
People often assume depression is about feeling "sad" or "blue" all the time. However, people who suffer from depression and SAD will tell you that it's not a unhappy feeling that plagues them, but rather, the experience of not feeling anything. This numbness and struggle to derive pleasure from the things that normally put a smile on your face is called anhedonia. This symptom hits hard for people suffering from SAD. If you're feeling this right now, know you are not alone!