It’s snowing… and sleeting… again. This is not surprising as we may not see sunshine for near a month at a time in the winter. Cleveland is not friendly to those who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder. I have heard that we have more overcast days than any other city in the US, including Seattle.
I also think that gardeners are more prone toÂ Seasonal Affective DisorderÂ Â in the winter. Not only do we take in higher than average levels of ultra violet rays in the summer that are suddenly withdrawn when the temps drop, we have to watch our hard work crumble and die. No matter what our mind logically knows should happen; the heart does ache a little at the loss.
Depression, even short term, “damn-you-mother-nature-for-your-fickle-seasonality” kinds, should not be taken lightly. So, as a public service, here are the signs:
- A drop in energy level
- Tired all the time
- A tendency to oversleep
- Weight gain
- Eating more sweet or starchy foods
- Heavy arms or legs
- Hard time concentrating
- Avoidance of social situations
Wow, to tell the truth, most of those things would probably happen to a gardener regardless of SAD.
“A tendency to oversleep” – well, of course. We are catching up on all the sleep we lost during the gardening season while we frantically worked in the garden.
“Weight gain” — Well, we just are not getting as much exercise as we did in warmer weather.
“Eating more sweet or starchy foods” — That’s because there is no tasty fruits and vegetables coming from the garden.
“Hard time concentrating” — That’s because we are too busy planning in the back of our head what we will be doing with the garden next year.
“Avoidance of social situations” — Who wants to go out if there are no flowers to see?
“Irritable” — No garden = bad mood. It is a simple equation.
Perhaps this just means we justÂ cannot avoid the problem. GardenersÂ are just automatically affected by SAD. It is in our very fiber.
The recommended treatment for SAD is light treatment, preferably with a full spectrum light. Grow lights for people, really. Actually, I think that you can kill two birds with one stone. Set up the light therapy lights and plant some seeds, then both you and your seeds can sit under the light. If the light therapy does not work, the garden therapy will and you are getting a jump on next gardening season. I think I am going to go set up the grow lights right now.