Thursday, December 19, 2013

Bah Humbug

Or there is nothing like a Blue, Blue Christmas…

Do you find that your mood is taking a dip? Do you find yourself off course and then feel like you are in a tail spin with a nosedive straight to hell? Do you find that you do not want to get out of bed until noon and that’s if you are in a good mood? That right around Thanksgiving do you find you are not your best friend and others are questioning if they should give your spot on the bowling league to someone else?

Do you find yourself lacking in the self-discipline needed to get things done you really need accomplished? Do you describe what is happening to you as a “blue funk”, “cabin fever” or heaven forbid the terrible “holiday depression” and you question if you really did shoot Santa last night and bury his Elves in the back yard?

Do you find yourself complaining about the commercialization of the Holidays and yet you don’t have the energy “not” to eat the cookies someone left at work, even if they were Snowmen and Christmas Trees and God forbid you find yourself trying to find your car in a Wal-Mart parking lot. Do you find yourself with a headache and body aches that don’t go away, even after consuming three fingers of good bourbon while hanging out at your local Sports Bar?

Do you find that the pull for a good toddy takes frontal stage or that you just want to pull the covers over your head and wait it out until March? No, you’re not the spawn of Scrooge McDuck and you are not “losing it”. It just may have to do with less hours of day light. Did you know that December is the month with the least amount of daylight hours?

So what does this have to do with everything? Well, it just may add up to what some call Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD.

Not that sad really explains it. It is more like grouchy, irritable, and tired mixed with an awesome craving for simple carbohydrates. Yes, the attack of Christmas Brownies, Sugar Cookies and even the dreaded Fruitcake and for many, increased trips to the Chiropractor and local masseuse. To top things off, your friends and family are asking you for your Christmas Wish List and all you wish is to be left alone….

If you were actually honest you would tell them that 1) you want to be LEFT ALONE, 2) you want to be like a bear and hibernate for three more months, and 3) you’re voting to move Christmas and New Years to somewhere in late July and early August. During your “up time” you make the public announcement that no one is getting gifts this year and you don’t even want any cards so DON’T send any..

You pronounce they are just a waste of time, money and energy; besides you have text messaging and e-mail… that should be enough. It’s time people get into the electronic age! Or not. Ouch! This time of year really hurts! Or at least it can. Not only do you have to face triggers of past events, last years losses and present conditions where you may not be with “family” or lost in finding the perfect Christmas, you may have SAD to face as well..

So what can be done when all one wants to do is pull the covers over ones head and wait until spring?

Well, first of all we have to define what is really going on. If you are actually experiencing SAD then you are experiencing what many consider a sub-category of major depression. It is characterized by a pattern of “onset” and “remission” which are linked to the seasonal changes. Whoa! What does this mean? Well, the most common explanation is a winter “funk” which occurs in the fall and continues until spring.

Is there any way we can help prevent this attack on our mood and behavior? What remedies, if any, have been found to be effective? This too needs more research but some have found that the following to take the edge off.

• Daily vitamin with magnesium, B complex, and minerals
• Elimination of caffeine
• Reduction of alcohol consumption
• Stress management program
• Elimination of refined sugars and flours
• Walking or aerobic exercise
• Saint John's Wort
• Mustard Flower Essences
• Herbal remedies – ask you local health food store for information
• Spending 30 minutes each day in the fresh air (in the sunlight if the weather permits),
• Light therapy – full spectrum (Light, whether it is natural or artificial, is essential in your well being)
• Low fat diet, with minimal protein

The Holidays are meant to be enjoyed. It is a time of year to focus on giving to others and letting those who are important to us know their value. It is the time to let others close and embrace the essence of who we and they really are. It is a time to take of care ourselves and be open to the goodness of others. It is time to count our blessings instead of our troubles and a time to do something about whatever steals the joy from us this time of year.

So if you identified yourself in any of the above you don’t have to wait until Spring. The first step is knowledge. You have that. Second, try some of the above remedies. They won’t hurt… they may even help…

Remember, you are not alone. Now go out and …… No, I am not going to quote Dr. Laura……… So, go make a Snow Angel. Get some light. As the Duke would often say, “We’re burning daylight pilgrim”.

And to all….. Have a Happy Holiday Season and a Very Merry Christmas…

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