I swear, winter freezes my blood to sludge. All my body and all my thought processes slow to a creep as the temperature drops. I don’t want to do anything but sleep. Which is, obviously, terrible for someone who suffers from seasonal depression. I need to be out in the sunlight, but the little bear in me wants to just cuddle up in a den. I have Seasonal Affective Disorder, SAD. It allegedly is more about the amount of daylight than what temperature it is. Okay, maybe all about the daylight. But you can’t convince me cold isn’t deadly.
I’ve talked before about the special bright light glasses I wear for 20 minutes every morning to fight SAD (here). They help. Extra vitamin D helps. Real sunshine helps. Green leafy vegetables help. Meditation helps. And lastly, the words I hate most when they come out of my doctor’s mouth: exercise helps. I know these things already and I try to follow each and every helpful hint. I swear; I really try. But the exercise thing just plum overcomes me.
First, it’s difficult to argue with a warm bed on days like we’re having now, where the temperatures are getting down in the 20s. (You Northerners, hold your comments. For me, that is deathly cold.) Once I finally drag myself out of bed, I wear the glasses and take the D3. And for the next hour I keep arguing with myself about trying to get out to the gym.
We have a marvelous YMCA close by where I am a member. I joined with an enthusiastic promise and a fervent hope that this would make it easy to exercise, both in the winter, and also in those months it’s so unspeakably hot you sweat walking to the mailbox. I pay faithfully every month, hoping this, this is the month I go back. The Y is almost always plenty warm in the winter; once you get there. It’s ten minutes away, three turns counting pulling into the parking lot! In other words, it’s just far enough away that the car doesn’t get warm. (See how I turn that positive right into a negative? It’s because my brain is frozen in negative mode.) But seriously, I own a coat. Can’t I stand ten minutes in the car to get there? Apparently not. I am a flower. I wither into a dead little ball in the cold.
My sister-in-law pities me. She thinks I must miss out on all the pleasures of winter. She worries I will never get to hear the squeak of boots on the snow, taste snow-cream, feel the brisk wind on your red nose—the only part to be seen under all those winter clothes. I try to understand. I try not to remind her how I also don’t get the enjoyment that shoveling snow off your roof brings. We don’t understand one another. Luckily she still loves me. And I her. But I don’t visit them in the winter. Some years we have one little snow in January, the one that melts off before dark. That is what I consider a joyful snow.
It’s winter, it’s cold, I’m not exercising. Now you know why I have nothing fun or witty to write about right now.
Stick with me. In a few months, I’ll be whining about the heat.
Anyone out there understand? Anyone else having strong urges to hibernate? Tell me your stories.