Winter Darkness 

Winter is here for many of us.  Less sunlight, snow, clouds, rain, being shut in—these are the ingredients of a season that leads many of us to gloom. I have a few suggestions, but I want to preface my remarks by saying that I know many of us in this economy do not have all the resources to fight this gloom.  So here goes.

First, let us remember about Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Lots of people have this; some do not; and others feel gloomy in the summer.   If you do experience SAD, you can address it by recognizing it as a problem. You should speak to your physician to see whether s/he recommends some all spectrum fluorescent lights as well as checking your Vitamin D levels and taking supplements.

When you are talking with your doctor, find out what level of exercise is appropriate for you, given your age and health. If you shouldn’t be shoveling snow or cutting up firewood, please don’t do it.  You can run the risk of a heart attack or back strain, causing even more problems, including an expensive hospital stay, being out of work and putting strain and stress on your family.

Second, if you can afford it, keep lights on and the house warm.  Go to brightly lit places like malls and just walk around.  Find excuses to celebrate anything—without spending any or a lot of money.  Think of wearing bright colors.  Go outside as much as weather permits, and, with appropriate clothing and sunglasses if necessary and the opinion of your eye doctor, soak in as much sunlight as you can.

Third, have a party now and then.  If money is tight, have a potluck and enjoy the atmosphere.

Fourth, if you have a computer, write to people from whom you’ve not heard in a long time.  Use the call function on g-mail for free calls within this country if you don’t have a cell phone. The idea is to remember that spring and summer will come again and to keep yourself and your family cheered up.

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