A colleague asked this very good question today on LinkedIn and I'd love to know the answer, get some tips from ya'll, as well:

"This time of year is ROUGH. It gets dark at 4:30, I'm perpetually tired, my energy level is LOW, and things feel so blah. And here come the holidays, 2+ weeks of no school, and ahhhh. 😫Who else deals with Seasonal Affective Disorder?? I love the PNW very much but damn, this time of year is hard up here. So what are your tips? What works when your energy is low, and your cup is constantly empty?"

Such a good question! I used to live in the PNW too (Portland) and now London, so not much better. It gets dark at 4 pm y'all, how is this right??* I try my best to workout at least 3x a week and go to dance classes. A little movement goes a long way!* waking up earlier* using a SAAD lampHow about you? Can't wait to hear other tips.Sarah
Squirrel, you know I had to google what a SAD lamp was, right?πŸ˜… But all good! Now I know!I think I would just be mad if it got dark at 4pm🀣 Talk about changing my perspective & NEEDING to come up with an alternate plan for the not a bad idea...πŸ€” I need to ponder on that idea, but that's a damn good idea. How do I Winter to my advantage?...Working out and movement - in the sun! Fuq yeah!Waking up earlier? Pass.πŸ˜–πŸ˜†Using a SAD lamp? Perhaps.I'm loving this. Thank you!
Definitely get SAD! But I keep up with movement, working out REALLY helps (as you know haha) I move everyday! Either cardio like Barry's, pilates-like exercise like solidcore, or run! And then I try to do small things on the day to day that bring me joy eg. making a cup of hot cocoa, baking when I have time (mostly on weekends), cooking simple yet delicious meals for myself, and get enough rest!
You know I'm with you on the exercise tip!And I DO need to stock up on hot cocoa (OR BOBA!!! YAAAASSSS!!!).Baking? Pass. But going to my local bakery that serves pastel de natas - fuq yeah!!!Meal prep? Absolutely. Get enough rest? Oh, I'm ready to hibernateπŸ˜…
Hibernate is a good option with hot cocoa, great shows/movies, and pastel de natas haha (they're so good)
Food as self care :) I love all of these and not just because of baking. Absolutely agree on the SAD lamp too.
Exercise for sure but I also think making time regularly to eat good food with friends! Taking turns throwing weekday dinner parties or craft nights or cleaning each other's houses, doesn't matter so long as you're getting together frequently and supporting each other!
Such a great question, and I can totally relate. Personally, I've learned to listen to my body during those tough days. I give myself the space for extra rest and commit to 'bare minimum' days, focusing on essential self-care and required tasks. Utilizing sick days for some dedicated daytime self-care has been a game-changer. Plus, starting my day with a bit of sunshine instead of diving straight into my phone has become a valuable energy hack during stressful times.
I used to do that, where I would go for a walk IMMEDIATELY after waking vs. checking my phone or computer to look at my schedule for the day or emails. I need to start doing that again, STAT!
I am also located in the PNW (Seattle area) and can certainly relate to feeling blah! A daily exercise routine and overall movement practice really helps me! Eating whole minimally processed foods, getting outside in nature (even for a short time), guided meditations, and pet therapy with my cats also all help.
Having lived in Sweden for 5 years, where the sun rises at 10am and sets at 2.45pm in the afternoon for about 6 months.... I totally feel you! Now, here is the list of things I did back then to power through these very dark months:1. Vitamin D (super important!! because there isn't any sunshine so your body needs it!)2. Breakfast with candles and jazz - same applies for dinner 3. Red Light Therapy (either get a mask or find a place that offers treatment)4. Sauna 1x per week 5. Slow exercise in a nice studio 6. A list of nutritious and cozy recipes to warm you up from the inside 7. When the sun is out - force yourself to take a break! Hope these help πŸ€—
This is the most epic list I've ever seen on how to deal with this!Oh my Janelle Monae, I'm going to implement a lot of this!My only thought was to move to a place where there is no "Winter Blahs" like Antigua. πŸ˜…This is more sustainable πŸ™ŒπŸΎ
"Oh my Janelle Monae" made my day. Another thing that helps me with SAD is finding wonderful women via online communities to 'fill my cup'. I've been trying to join more and feel like connecting with women often gives me a sense of hope as much as the SAD lamp and cocoa.
I live in the South but still feel a dip in my mood when autumn arrives. I've used a light therapy lamp for at least an hour daily for quite a few years. My daughter found the change of seasons rough when she lived in Omaha for a few years, and light therapy also made a big difference for her.The lamp is mounted just above my eyeline, which is the officially recommended position. My husband rigged up an armature so I could move the lamp over the top of my computer monitor and then move it back out of the way after my morning hour of treatment.
I would say nothing beats the regular workouts and endorphins to keep the mood steady...But here are some more ideas:- getting out in nature as often as possible, even if its dark and cold, and even if for short walks- getting vitamin D supplement and starting with it already in early September- embracing the coziness and hygge - warm mindful cup of cocoa, blanket, all these books that we never have the time to read...- connecting with friends who are good for our mood and energy <3- time with animals - dogs, cats, horses... eternal mood booster :)- getting social - meeting friends for game nights, book discussions, wine & cheese eve.... in cozy environment, ideally, and without much effort to organise it - taking time for reflection and embracing the "quiet" season - there is also a lot in appreciating it ;) - if there is snow - all the playful stuff <3 skiing, iceskating, throwing snow at people (dunno how its called in english) :D :D
This list makes me wanna hibernateπŸ˜…
why not making it a healthy mix? solid dose of sports and time outside, and then well deserved hybernation moments :D
Consider using this slower season to evaluate what feels heavy/may be getting you down emotionally, administratively, professionally, spiritually, intellectually, etc. (you get the point). Focusing on sowing seeds for your next personal Spring can be revitalizing. What does this look like? How about...1. Looking at your closest relationships. We often fill our friend/partnerships with expectations but fail to honor our own needs and responsibilities. Are you showing up for YOURSELF, your friends and family members? When you think of the people nearest your heart one by one, do you feel weighed down or fulfilled, engaged and enriched? Are *your* conditions of satisfaction (your actual requirements to feel that you're receiving what you need to thrive) being met?2. Developing a growth plan? Looking forward to an activity can help tamp down the there a hobby (learning to knit, ice skate, throw pots, becoming Katniss Everdeen, paint), interest (learning to negotiate, code, etc.), focus area or deep desire that you've placed on a back burner that needs the heat turned up on it during the cold winter months? Look at your desires, resources (work related interests may be supported by an employee education budget whereas you may want to build up or tap into a stash of cash to support other non-work-oriented goals), options, schedule and make some plans per quarter. 3. Helping others? Ladling soup at a shelter, tutoring adults or children, playing music for elders, crafting stuff for folks, delivering meals to food insecure folks, etc. are all wonderful ways to concentrate on serving and realizing support for people who may be in dire straits. Knowing that you have somewhere to be from 5:30-7:30 PM a few times a week while it's dark and gloomy can add purpose and passion to your life transforming introspective doldrums into outstanding outreach.
I love #3. And it may be one of the FEW things to get me out the house after the sun sets at 4:30