Dr. Michael A Emerson - Montana City Counseling View Entire Blog

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” and you question if you really did shoot Santa and bury his Elves in the back yard?

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 “losing it”. It just may have to do with less hours of day light.

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. 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. This time of year really hurts! Or at least it can.

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

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…