Increasing Daylight as Winter Wains

As we near the end of the cold season, I discuss our ever-lengthening daylight and the subsequent reduction of my SAD symptoms.

Photo by Hassan OUAJBIR from Pexels

This weekend will see another of my favorite days of the year…the first day of the new year that the sun will stay up till 5 pm at our house!  The daylight is screaming back now! 😎 (The Black Hills sit between the Trekkers’ house and the western horizon, so we have to wait a little further into the year for this to actually happen.)

Improved SAD symptoms

I’ve mentioned previously that I struggle with SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) in the winter months.  This year, my SAD symptoms haven’t been quite as severe as I’ve experienced in the past.  This could be due to several factors:

–until this week, when we’ll be lucky if we see a high of 10 🥶, we’ve had a warmer-than-normal winter.  We’ve also had A LOT of sunny days (so Puppers and I have been able to spend a good deal of time outside, soaking up that natural Vitamin D3!)

–one positive benefit of COVID is that Mr. Trekker has been working from home a lot more.  It really helps to have him here in the early evening, after the sun sets but when it’s still too early to make dinner, to help keep me company.

–due to COVID (and some other factors) I went on an SSRI (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor) antidepressant for the first time this year.  I’ve thought about trying them in the past but was hesitant to take the plunge.  I was really struggling early last spring with the onset of COVID and some other life events that were getting me down and my doctor suggested I try this low-dose option.  My body has handled it well.  Things are improving so I’m hoping to wean off of it as the days continue to get longer.  I plan to keep it in my arsenal though, as an option for next fall when the days grow short yet again.

–Working as a Freelancer seems to help my mood as well…most of the time 😇 .  January was always the worst month of the year for me at my former job.  That stress, combined with my struggle with the lack of daylight, caused a two-pronged attack on my spirits.

For the record, a freelancer’s life does come with its own stressors (contrary to popular belief, we don’t just sit on the couch eating Bon Bon’s all day! 😝)  There is the worry caused by always working on short-term projects, which results in little job security.  This, obviously, means you always need to seek out new work.   And it turns out, you have to work harder when you literally don’t get paid unless you’re performing work-related tasks.  You realize how easy it is to slack off at a “normal” job when you receive a paycheck regardless of how long you spend talking to your friend, or how much time you frit away surreptitiously checking Facebook when the boss isn’t looking. 😇)

I think the biggest advantage of working from home is that it allows me the opportunity to see daylight so regularly.  Whether it’s sitting inside with the sun streaming in the windows; watching the snowflakes float down on a cold day; or sitting outside on the back patio as the sun bathes me on a warm day; I’m at least able to experience it now.  This seems to make all the difference to help ease the symptoms of anxiety and winter depression that I have experienced in the past, and for that, I am incredibly grateful.  

More daylight improves mood!

It’s amazing to me how just knowing the days are getting longer raises my spirits.  While we have gained almost an hour of daylight in the last 6 weeks since the Winter Solstice, it is still mostly dark by 5:30 at night.  There is something about the fact, though, that when I’m standing in the kitchen, preparing dinner, instead of there being complete blackness outside the window, there is–at least a small hint–of light.  That really improves my outlook on things!  

I still feel the suffocating frustration at how little daylight we have, but since I KNOW it’s going to continue staying lighter, longer, each and every day, and I KNOW that the beginning of spring is now only a few weeks away, this irritation slackens.  It also helps that I know our daylight will continue lengthening for the next 6 months!  That’s enough to ease the ache considerably!  

As our long, dark days wane, I hope anyone else who wrestles with this exasperating condition is finding their struggle is easing, as well.  As our sun comes back and our daylight continues to increase in both duration and frequency, let’s all take a lesson from the Beatles, and get out there and make it a good day, sunshine! 😎

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Our days are gradually geting longer and we are gaining sunlight in earnest now. Read on as I discuss my joy at our increasing daylight!

 

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