Winter Blahs: How SAD?

Well, I hit the concrete over the weekend for the first time this year. With the temps in the low 30s and no new snow or ice here in NE Ohio I was able to get in five miles in the early a.m. both Saturday and Sunday. Whew — I thought I was going to be stuck inside all winter.

And that’s really not something to joke about. It happens — especially for the elderly who may have some difficulty driving, getting to public transportation, or just generating the enthusiasm for pushing off the couch and heading outside. Hey. I’m carrying an Ohio Golden Buckeye card in my wallet. It can happen.

Anyway, I was thinking about that during both my runs this weekend. The more I can get outside and the more I can keep active the better I feel, physically and mentally. I expect that’s true for most.

But it ain’t always easy. And the weather in many parts of the country — here in the Akron/Cleveland area as an example — doesn’t always cooperate. We’ve had two (maybe) sunny days this year. (Cleveland, by the way, averages 66 sunny days a year. But hey. That’s seven more than my hometown, Pittsburgh. Go figure.)

If you are struggling with the winter blahs, don’t just discount it. I went for years without knowing that I had an underactive thyroid — and trust me, that had some big consequences in terms of energy levels, weight loss and gain, ability to sleep (or not) and mood swings.

It’s not uncommon for people to experience seasonal affective disorder. My doctor mentions that to me almost every year when I have my semi-annual thyroid test. Here’s a description about SAD from the Mayo Clinic online:

Seasonal affective disorder (also called SAD) is a type of depression that occurs at the same time every year. If you’re like most people with seasonal affective disorder, your symptoms start in the fall and may continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody. Less often, seasonal affective disorder causes depression in the spring or early summer.

Of course, I attribute some of the winter blahs this season to the fact that the Pittsburgh Steelers are not in the NFL playoffs.

Go figure.


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