S.A.D.? Turn it into M.A.D.!

By Jodi Zimmerman

The latitude of the Quad Cities brings with it a chance of Seasonal Affective Disorder or S.A.D. Lack of natural light can have an impact on our energy and perceptions even though we get 8 hours of daylight. The problem is the sunlight we do get is weaker and we simply do not spend as much time out in it once the cold hits our region. Our reduced exposure to vitamin D via the sun is also a likely culprit for the seasonal blues and lack of energy that some people experience. What to do other than heading south? Some suggestions include taking up a winter sport such as snowshoeing, cross-country skiing or winter biking. Too intense? Yeah, me too.

A less active way get your daily dose of D is to sit by a sunny window where you can take up a new hobby – like knitting or painting – or you can play catch up on the reading list. Many suggest turning on lights and opening blinds as soon as your alarm goes off to help energize your morning. These are all good suggestions but since you’re not in direct sunlight it may leave your melatonin levels on the hibernate setting. Bundle up and visit a favorite park to get to know it in winter. Feed the local birds and practice your identification. Need more motivation? Think of all the cute shelter dogs that still need walking and head down to the shelter after work.

Still can’t shake the winter blues? And, do you dwell pessimistically on the planet’s future? Embrace the dark season and channel the S.A.D. into M.A.D. – Mandatory Activism Disturbance. Channel your winter melancholy – and your disappointment in our nation’s leaders – into much needed activism to protect Mother Earth. Summer will find us happy in our gardens, or out enjoying a paddle around our river. But through the long, cold winter focus your frustrations into Mandatory Activism Disturbance.

Photo Credit: Chris Young

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