I’m moving away from talking about the holiday cottage specifically today. It’s about this time of the year when the nights are drawing in earlier and the days are often short of sunlight that I start thinking that I need something to look forward to. I think it is my autoresponse to mild Seasonal Affective Disorder.
I feel like this every year and I always look forward to the end of January when the days seem to begin to feel longer with a sense of achievement at having survived anothe dark winter.
Many people feel this way; some suffer much more than others and they find these weeks really difficult to deal with. There are thought to be over 2 million sufferers in the UK alone and I don’t know if this figure includes the likes of me, who has never consulted anyone about it because it is only mild.
Experts suggest a multitude of things that may alleviate some of the symptoms. All agree that what works for one may not work for another and many may have to try various techniques before they find some that help ease the problem.
For me I know that having something to look forward to helps. Whether it is a holiday or a family gathering such as a wedding often these provide something to focus on. The fact that Christmas is just around the corner and you may be seeing all the family isn’t always a good thing. Stress of preparing for Christmas often seems to negate the benefits of the planned family get together for so many of us.
By January, once Christmas and New Year is over, many of us book a holiday or short break for later in the year to have something to look forward to. It may be why we see so many of our cottage breaks being booked in January .
Some of the suggested techniques for managing the symptoms are easier for some to build into their lives than others. When I was employed full time I would leave home in the dark and travel home again in the dark. Fitting in exeercise such as a walk was not always possible and I am not that enamoured of other indoor sports either.
Relaxing with a book became one of my coping mechanisms. Keeping warm is also supposed to help and it is true that I do hate to be cold. Eating well and not over-indulging the craving for carbohydrates is something else I wish came more easily. There is a reason why we know some foods as ‘comfort foods’.
Taking up a new hobby – finding something of interest to focus on and divert your thoughts – is also supposed to help. Even starting to write this blog could be part of the solution.
Seeing family and friends is helpful and talking about the way you feel at this time of year helps to lighten the load too.
There are support groups you can join if that would help or if it is really debillitating you should talk to your GP.
What are your coping mechanisms?