How to Fight Seasonal Affective Disorder

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January can be a tough month.

December is full of family and celebrating and travel and yummy food and presents wrapped in bows.

And then comes January.

The reality of a white Christmas(most years) sets in as winter appears to be an endless stream of grey.

Perky resolutions remind us of our too tight pants, and lack of motivation.

The kids are sick of school. The toddlers are already tired of their new toys. The house is a mess.

January is a tough time for many moms.

Dreaming of sunny days? Me too.

So, What Can We Do?

The first step in fighting off the winter blues is acknowledging that they are there. Are you feeling funky? Irritable? Maybe even depressed? You are not alone.

It is called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), but I prefer to call it January Blues.

Seasonal Affective Disorder has a natural source. Our shorter days and lack of sunlight deplete our already thin stores of Vitamin D. Have you been taking a supplement? Maybe it is time to start. Some people swear by some good broad spectrum UV lights. I don’t have the budget or the space for them, so I make do without. I leave the windows bare though and let as much light into my house as I can.

I don’t often feel like being very active in the winter. I love to hike and take long walks, but in the sub-zero North Dakota weather, I don’t often get to do this. And once I start to feel lazy it becomes a habit. However, when I do get moving, my mood and energy level improves. In the winter I take advantage of the boys’ Wii system and the fact that they are gone all day and can’t laugh at me. A few minutes with Wii Fit or Let’s Dance and I can feel my blood pumping and my mood lift.

I use January as a time to take up a new hobby or learn a new skill. This winter I am participating in a 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Challenge with the SITS Girls. I need to bring my blogging and writing to a new level, and this group has been just what my burnt out January brain needed.

I like to clean things in January. I’m not a normal person who spring cleans. Things are too fresh and pretty in spring to take time to clean. However, in January, when I am in my house ALL DAY LONG, I can see the spots that need improvement. I’ve recently whipped the living room into shape, and the little boys have a nice shiny room. I think the kitchen may be next. I’ve gotten a lot of encouragement lately from Nony at A Slob Comes Clean. Mostly because, well, I’m a slob.

I also tend to take on new projects in January. I figure boredom leads to despair, so I try not to be bored. I’m currently working on two different eBooks, and I’m working on an agenda for a hands-on class for beginning bloggers. And honestly, who can be bored when chasing a pair of two-year olds. Frustrated, yes. Bored? Not a chance.

Chime in! How do you deal with the January blues? What keeps you from curling up in your hoodie and yoga pants and sleeping until April? You know I’d love to hear from you.


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About the author : Dakotapam

I'm a Lutheran pastor's wife and mom to six kids, including toddler twin girls. My life is sometimes normal, and sometimes crazy; but through it all, I know that I am blessed! Some people say that I have my hands full, I prefer to call it living life with both hands full, and I love it!

8 comments to “How to Fight Seasonal Affective Disorder”

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  1. Coffee Lovin' Mom - January 18, 2012 Reply

    I had your page open and my husband from across the room says: Maybe THAT’s what my problem is lately! I agree – it’s that time of year..the less daytime hours gets me the most I think, definitely helps the nap til April..

  2. Dakotapam - January 18, 2012 Reply

    It helps me to remember that it is real. It is not in my head, and it passes as the days get longer. Thanks for stopping by:)

  3. Ashley Ederington - January 18, 2012 Reply

    I don’t know how you live in such a cold climate, but even in warmer Arkansas my husband sees a dramatic increase in depressed patients on his psychiatric unit during January & February.

    I fight the winter blues by running. I have to run. I get really, really grumpy if I can’t run.

    • Dakotapam - January 18, 2012 Reply

      Some days I wish I loved running. But I don’t . So I self-medicate with coffee! Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Blair Scheepers - January 19, 2012 Reply

    January is a tough month for me because it’s summer here in South Africa. We take 3 weeks of vacation in December (the whole country does, it’s crazy). Now, I have returned to work, the weather is still gorgeous and my baby is stuck at school and me stuck in the office, when all I want to do is play outside with her! What I do love about Jan is all the new resolutions I make, like the SITS course. I am enjoying so much. Especially finding new blogs, like yours!

    • Dakotapam - January 19, 2012 Reply

      I enjoy yours as well! I could relate to you getting locked in your house, though I’m usually locking myself out and then being late for things!

  5. Dakotapam - January 19, 2012 Reply

    (SAD)ly, sunlight seems to be the best cure:) Though, having gorwn up in an area without distinct four seasons , I always felt like I was missing out on something. I do love winter, I just wish I could avoid the blues a bit better! Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Carol Peterson - January 25, 2012 Reply

    For many of these individuals, using light therapy has proven useful during the harsh winter when the depression and lethargy threatens to creep up on them.

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