Speaking this week with someone about their experience of feeling down and sad during the winter months prompted me to look it up. And after waking up unexpectedly down and sad thismorning myself, I’ve decided to write about it.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a real condition where people experience symptoms including feeling hopeless, having low energy, losing interest in their activities and can just want to sleep the days away. It tends to affect people during the winter months, beginning in Autumn.
“rain window” by ultravox1 is marked with CC BY 2.0.
That’s definitely how I have felt today plus add to that carbohydrate cravings and a sense of worthlessness. Maybe this Sydney thunderstorm weather pattern is honestly affecting people’s moods? Whilst studies investigating the effect of rainy days on people’s moods haven’t all come to the same conclusion, the preponderance of evidence appears to be that, yes, rain and ‘bad’ weather can impact our moods.
I used to suffer a lot more depression when I was younger, it wasn’t limited to rainy days! However, I changed so much of my life in order to overcome that. I implemented an intense exercise regime that I adhere to and includes boxing, weights and Tai Chi. I reach out and talk to other people, I don’t isolate myself. I no longer ingest intoxicants. I write about my feelings, I write songs about my feelings and I allow myself to cry today. Considering my efforts, I can sometimes compound waking up feeling inexplicably ‘down’ by interpreting it as failure. Intellectually, of course I know it’s not.
However, being a human in a transitional stage of life, I tend to get much more anxious about lost days of ‘productivity’ and the reality of not being in control of my emotions, than is probably healthy. I’m not as strict about making time for mindful activities such as meditation as I’d like to be. When I get into an anxious state about ‘lost productivity’ I start to view meditation as more ‘lost’ time.
It can seem counter-intuitive to me to take care of myself spiritually first and then address achievement. But a study published in Nature covering the experiences of scientists in stressful situations, found those who managed to stay balanced and present most successfully, did so, through prioritising mindful activities. These mindful activities included yoga and meditation.
So my resolve has been strengthened to prioritise mindfullness practices every single day in an attempt to better manage negative feelings and detach from negative thoughts.