The SADness of winter in northern Ontario

This winter has been a challenging one pretty much everywhere this year. Though we’ve only broken a couple of records in the cold temperature category, I don’t think we’ve broken any for snowfall, which feels strange to me, because we’ve had more snow this winter than we have in … well a lot of years.

They say we have global warming to thank for all of this, but that seems counterintuitive to me. This whole winter has been alternating snow and freezing temperatures. It even snowed as far south as New Orleans. New York and the Maritime Provinces have been repeatedly slammed. Our weather certainly is messed up this year.

Winter has always been a difficult season for me. As a person with depression, the seasonal reduction of daylight combined with the number of overcast days makes me prone to seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

I’m more tired than usual, and I’m tired most of the time. I just want to hibernate.

It’s a struggle to remain productive, both at work and in my writing life. I miss more days of writing in the winter than I do at other times of the year, which distresses me. It’s more difficult to feel enthusiastic about things, even things that I enjoy. I have to fake it until I make it.

I also eat more and am less active in the winter. I gain weight. Fortunately, this doesn’t distress me so much, but it can lower my self-esteem.

I feel like I’m falling behind. There aren’t enough hours in a day. Everything seems to take longer to do.

The light is returning, though. We’re in March and only weeks away from the Spring Equinox. I’m starting to feel better already.

We’re also one week away from the “spring forward” of Daylight Savings Time (DST).

It’s frustrating that we still follow it. I call it self-imposed jet lag. Just as I’m beginning to feel better because of the increased daylight, we leap forward an hour, plunging my mornings back into darkness. It’s once more a challenge to get out of bed and start my day.

Plus I lose an hour and that messes with my already fragile circadian rhythm. Insomnia abounds.

It can take me days, sometimes weeks to recover.

The claim is that DST saves energy from the use of incandescent lighting and has economic benefits in the summer because of increased retail, sporting events, and other activities that can more easily be conducted in the evenings due to the shifted hour.

I really don’t see it. We use lights when it’s dark regardless of whether it’s dark in the morning, evening, or both. We’d take advantage of the daylight regardless.

I can’t change legislation, though. So for now, I must simply deal.

What about you? Do you get SAD in the winter? Has this winter’s wonky weather patterns got you down? Do you see the point of DST, or does it bother you? Do you even have to deal with DST where you live?

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